Wednesday, July 8, 2015


The United States Constitution dictates that there are three separate branches of government; The Executive branch, The Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch.  The Executive branch is responsible for enforcing the laws, the Legislative branch is responsible for creating the laws, and judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the laws.  In most cases, when there is a vacancy in the judicial branch, the executive branch is responsible for making the appointment to fill the vacancy until the appointment is confirmed by the legislative branch or until the next election.

In April 2015, Mount Vernon City Court Judge Mark Gross retired from the bench.  Convicted criminal, Mayor Ernie Davis, appointed Judge Gross.  When Gross retired, a vacancy was left on the bench that now needed to be filled. 

Criminal Mayor Ernie Davis tapped Adrian Armstrong to fill the bench.  Instead of choosing a competent individual to administer justice, in typical fashion, Ernie Davis appointed an individual that is corrupt just like him and mired in controversy, just like him. As they say, birds of a feather flock together. 

Public trust has already been eroded from Mount Vernon City government when Mayor Davis plead guilty to tax evasion in October 2014.  Having a judge appointed by a convicted criminal is like hiring a pedophile to babysit your children.  Some things in life you simply don't do. 

Before his appointment to the bench, little was known about Adrian Armstrong.  Armstrong served a brief ineffective stint as a school board trustee in the City of Mount Vernon.  While serving as a trustee, Armstrong voted in favor of the largest tax increases in the history of Mount Vernon. 

Armstrong’s full time job before being appointed to the bench in Mount Vernon was Principal Law Clerk to New York State Supreme Court Judge Donna Mills.  Judge Donna Mills was censured by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct following her arrest for driving while intoxicated in 2005.    According to an article published in the New York Times, here is how the caper went down:

A State Supreme Court justice in Manhattan has been censured by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for inappropriate behavior after an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her drunken-driving arrest in July 2002.
Though cleared of all criminal charges, the justice, Donna M. Mills, admitted to the commission that she should not have driven her 1979 Rolls-Royce after drinking as much alcohol as she had. She also told the commission that her accusations that the arresting officers had singled her out because she is black had been offensive.
Censure is the second most serious form of public discipline a judge can receive, one step short of removal from office, according to the commission's administrator, Robert H. Tembeckjian. Justice Mills has 30 days to appeal the decision.
The unanimous decision by the commission, which was reached on Aug. 17 and announced yesterday, comes at a difficult time for Justice Mills, 52, who was already the subject of public attention this week in an unrelated court matter.
Yesterday, an ordained minister and church choir director, Lawrence Craig, who was described by friends as her companion, was arraigned in Bronx Criminal Court on a felony charge of attempted burglary, as well as misdemeanor charges of attempted assault, trespassing and endangering the welfare of a child, and other charges.
The charges stemmed from an occurrence on Saturday in which Mr. Craig drove a black convertible belonging to Justice Mills to a Bronx apartment building and tried to grab a 4-year-old boy from his family's home, according to witnesses' accounts. In court yesterday, Mr. Craig's lawyer, Steven Young, said that his client had a drinking problem and that the arresting officer reported that Mr. Craig appeared to be either drunk or under the influence of drugs. Mr. Craig, who was released on $2,500 bail, could not be reached for comment last night. Neither Justice Mills nor her lawyer returned calls made to their offices.
According to the decision, which was released yesterday by the judicial conduct commission, on July 22, 2002, after an evening out with a friend that included "numerous" drinks and dinner, Justice Mills got into the Rolls-Royce, which had been parked in a lot belonging to a Loehmann's department store in the Bronx. As she started to leave the lot, opposite the 50th Precinct station house in Kingsbridge, Justice Mills tried to make a U-turn, and became stuck between two parked cars, the text of the decision said.
Police officers who arrested her testified at her trial that Justice Mills "had a strong odor of alcohol, was unsteady on her feet and was incoherent," the decision said.
The commission began its investigation into Justice Mills's conduct after a Bronx jury acquitted her of the drunken-driving charges in April 2004, Mr. Tembeckjian said. Justice Mills, who refused a Breathalyzer test when she was arrested, did not take the stand at her trial. But her lawyer at the time, Paul Gentile, contended that she had been singled out because of her race.
According to the decision, Justice Mills acknowledged to its members that it was "inappropriate for her to drive after consuming as much alcohol as she did that evening."
The commission also noted that while Justice Mills had accused the officers of arresting her because she is black, she had not uttered "profanities, epithets, or other words that would have been offensive per se."
She also did not "invoke her judicial office or assert the influence of the judicial office in order to avoid arrest," according to the decision. Justice Mills is serving a 14-year term that ends in 2012, according to a spokeswoman for the Office of Court Administration.
The commission found that she had violated standards requiring judges "to act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary and to avoid conduct that detracts from the dignity of the judicial office."
In the case against Mr. Craig, Johanna Hernandez, an assistant district attorney in the Bronx, said in court yesterday that prosecutors had contacted authorities in Wisconsin, where Mr. Craig pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor sexual assault charge in 2002. Two other sexual assault charges were dropped.
A report prepared by the Wausau, Wisc., police as part of the inquiry into allegations against Mr. Craig included interviews with cast and crew members of "Big River," a production the Wausau school district had hired Mr. Craig to perform in.
The female witnesses, who ranged in age from 14 to 18, told investigators that Mr. Craig had touched them on their buttocks, breasts and legs, and kissed many of them. One 15-year old girl, identified as "H" in the report, said that during the play's final performance, Mr. Craig had "French kissed her" in a secluded spot, and mentioned coming back to a hotel with him. The girl said that Mr. Craig "encouraged her not to tell anyone what he had done."
Another witness, an older woman, suggested that many girls had sought out Mr. Craig whenever he was not on stage.
Adrian Armstrong has also been front and center of corruption.  Armstrong was also allies with Larry Seabrook, the disgraced Bronx pol who stole hundreds of thousands on dollars from money intended to fund community centers and other pertinent projects in his district.   Seabrook was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison for misdirecting hundreds of thousands of dollars for community projects to his girlfriend and relatives.
According to a political insider, Armstrong was very much involved in the corruption and was left holding the bag in a prior stint before Seabrook was indicted by the feds on fraud charges. 
Armstrong’s former employer is also tied to corruption in the City of Mount Vernon.  A political insider told Mount Vernon Exposed that Judge Donna Mills is on the feds radar and her business dealings in the City of Mount Vernon and beyond are being looked into.
One such project under scrutiny is 50 E. Sandford Blvd.  The property was purchased by an entity controlled by Judge Donna Mills in 2008 for $800,000 cash.  The entity is One West 125th Street, LLC. and is registered to 26 California Road, Mount Vernon, NY 10552, Mills private residence.  Judge Mills is neighbors Serepher Halevi, Vice-Chairwoman of the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee. 
On October 15, 2014 a stop work order was issued by Building Inspector Ben Marable to Judge Donna Mills for working without a permit.  A sitting Judge should know a permit should have to be filed for building alterations.  
The Stop Work Order was issued for interior alterations without plans and permits.  The work being done illegally was for Serepher Conn-Halevi who was building an school/day care.  Halevi was seeking a place to put her profits after she made a pretty penny selling her building at 125 S. 5th Avenue to Rev. W. Franklyn Richardson and Grace Baptist Church for $1M.  The building was subsequently sold to Westchester County for over $1M and sold back to Richardson for $1. 
Building Commissioner Mark Warren initially turned a blind eye to the situation at 50 E. Sandford Blvd and only issued the stop work order after Mount Vernon Exposed began looking into the situation.  According to the "Work Without Permit Conference Results", Halevi stated she was unaware that work was being done at the facility.  According to city records, partitioned walls were constructed that appeared to be for classrooms.
Commissioner Warren after increased pressure from the public and amid an investigation by Mount Vernon Exposed issued a violation to Judge Donna Mills' entity two weeks later on October 30, 2014.  No other member of the public would have received such preferential treatment.  A violation would have been written immediately. 
Comptroller Maureen Walkers’ campaign manager Damion Barrett who is also business partners with Judge Donna Mills brokered the deal between Judge Donna Mills and Serepher Halevi. 

To be continued...

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