EMBATTLED JUDGE HELEN M. BLACKWOOD
Mount Vernon Exposed™® has learned of another complaint filed against Judge Helen M. Blackwood with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct. The latest complaint, for a total of three, accuses Judge Blackwood of improper political campaign contributions during the heated campaign for Mount Vernon City Court Judge. Judge Blackwood may have set a new world record for ethics violations by a sitting Judge in a relatively short period of time.
Judge Blackwood’s latest ethics violation takes us into the shadowy and creepy world of the Democratic Party in Westchester County where backroom deals, sexual favors, and envelopes filled with cash are standard operating procedure for securing a spot on the ballot. The truth is many voters do not know the process of how Judges are selected to countywide positions in Westchester County. While many voters think they are voting for a Judge when they go to the polls, the candidates that are being voted upon have been lurking around the Democratic clubhouses for months, and in some cases years, waiting for the chance to become part of Westchester County’s Kangaroo Court. Think again if you think you are voting for the best and brightest in Westchester County.
Judge Helen Blackwood was appointed to the Mount Vernon City Court in April 2009 by embattled Mayor Clinton I. Young. Judge Blackwood faced a bitter primary from two challengers; Nichelle A. Johnson, ESQ; and Tamika Coverdale, ESQ; Judge Blackwood narrowly escaped defeat by a little over 100 votes.
Judge Blackwood’s victory however, can be directly linked to her violation of Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge Part 100; Judicial Conduct; specifically,
§ 100.5 A judge or candidate for elective judicial office shall refrain from inappropriate political activity.
(A) Incumbent Judges and Others Running for Public Election to Judicial Office.
(1) Neither a sitting judge nor a candidate for public election to judicial office shall directly or indirectly engage in any political activity except (i) as otherwise authorized by this section or by law, (ii) to vote and to identify himself or herself as a member of a political party, and (iii) on behalf of measures to improve the law, the legal system or the administration of justice. Prohibited political activity shall include:
(h) soliciting funds for, paying an assessment to, or making a contribution to a political organization or candidate
According to the NYS Board of Elections, Judge Helen M. Blackwood made a contribution of $10,000 on September 2, 2009 to the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee for her share of primary costs for the 2009 election, however her running mate Marcus A. Griffith, candidate for City Comptroller, only made a contribution of $7,250.00 to the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee.
Both candidates filed reports with the NYS Board of Elections indicating that their respective committee spent money on signs, campaign mailings, literature, etc. Due to the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee blatantly violating NYS campaign finance laws, it cannot be determined where or who Judge Blackwood’s of Marcus Griffith’s money went to.
Allegations of Extortion and Bribery
We have all heard stories of Clarence Norman, the disgraced Chairman of the Brooklyn Democratic Party sent to prison for selling judgeships and candidacy’s across Kings County. It appears that this shake ‘em down mentality has found its way across the Whitestone Bridge and into Westchester County.
All three candidates for Mount Vernon City Court interviewed with a screening committee handpicked by Mayor Clinton I. Young a member of the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee Executive Committee, and also the person that appointed Judge Blackwood to the bench. Some of the persons involved in the screening process were; Arnold Keith, ESQ; Jennifer Coker-Wiggins; and Edward Dowdy.
Arnold Keith, ESQ, was recently appointed Commissioner of the Mount Vernon Civil Service Commission by Mayor Clinton I. Young Jr. Jennifer Coker-Wiggins was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Human Resources by Mayor Clinton I. Young Jr. Edward Dowdy is an extremely close personal friend of Mayor Clinton I. Young Jr.
At these meetings, the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee Executive Committee and/or Screening Committee informed the candidates that in order to get the nomination of the Democratic Party it was expected that each candidate contribute a minimum of $25,000 to the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee. Democratic enrollment outnumbers Republican enrollment in the City of Mount Vernon 7 to 1. The winner of the Democratic Primary essentially cruises to victory in the November general election.
Judge Blackwood and others who were involved in the ‘screening process’ conspired to disenfranchise the other candidates for public office by expecting that each one contribute $25,000 to the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee. In actuality, the expected amount was not $25,000 but that amount was fabricated to discourage other candidates from participating in the election. In the end, only Judge Helen M. Blackwood made a contribution to the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee.
Judge Blackwood’s ethics violation should be of concern to all Democratic voters in Westchester County. Recently, Mount Vernon Exposed™® has interviewed several Democratic candidates elected to office in Westchester County. These elections reveal widespread corruption in Westchester County Democratic politics. Mount Vernon Exposed™® has learned that extortion and bribery are customary, and those not willing to participate cannot play. In other words, you must pay to play.
Westchester County Democrats have even come up with a scientific formula to justify their criminal enterprise. For example, all NYS Supreme Court, Westchester County Court, and Westchester Family Court justices earn $136,700 annually. NYS Supreme Court judges are elected to 14 year terms and County Court judges serve 10 year terms. Westchester County Party bosses and local committee chairs expect a kickback of 10% of the judge’s salary over a ten year period. The money most likely will be in the form of cash because judges are forbidden from making contributions to political organizations.
Here is an example of how much money is at stake here: $136,700 x 10 years = $1,367,000 x 10% = kickback of $136,700 to be divided up amongst the Democratic Party bosses. The jackpot is slightly larger for Supreme Court Justices. $136,700 x 14 years = $1,913,800 x 10% = kickback of $191,380 to be divided up amongst the Democratic Party bosses.
One can speculate that Judge Blackwood has made her down payment on her judgeship. However, Judge Blackwood did not follow protocol by giving an envelope of cash, instead she opted to give a check and the reason the lid has been blown wide open on corruption within the Democratic Party in Westchester County.
With all of the seasoned politicos consulting with Judge Blackwood, how could she make such a foolish mistake? It has been reported to Mount Vernon Exposed™® that Judge Blackwood’s campaign manager was Gary Stracuzzi, Rye Town Democratic Chair. Stracuzzi also drinks from the public till via his high paying job at the Westchester County Board of Elections. If one wants to find Stracuzzi, one just can simply drive past the Westchester County Board of Elections to see Mr. Stracuzzi outside smoking on the finest cigars that the world has to offer courtesy of Westchester County taxpayers. Mr. Stracuzzi was recently seen leaving lunch with Kathy Davidson, Supervising Judge for Family Court, 9th Judicial District, an indication that his tentacles have extended into Westchester County Family Court.
As we continue to explore this dark, creepy, shadowy world of corruption in Democratic politics in Westchester County also known as District 9, the findings will be unfathomable. In case you are wondering, YES your vote has been compromised.