Schlein the Lawyer Making Bronx Judges -- Again
But there was Schlein last week, helping to nominate the same judges who make the lucrative appointments he and his party pals have dined out on for years. Schlein is also back in the game as an election lawyer, working for a slew of campaigns. Even Bill de Blasio, who's promoting himself as the "independent" candidate in today's runoff race for Public Advocate, hired Schlein in August, paying him $4,000 for unspecified services; the lawyer pulled in another $17,500 from his friend Melinda Katz's comptroller campaign, and $8,000 from the much-investigated Bronx councilmember Maria Arroyo. He also took in $5,500 from the campaign of Fernando Cabrera, who squeaked past incumbent Maria Baez. In Queens, Paul Vallone paid him $7,500 in his losing bid for a Bayside council seat. Earlier this year, Schlein worked for new Bronx boro president Rubin Diaz Jr., receiving $15,000 for work on the special April election.
At the judicial convention last week, among the judges Schlein helped promote for new 14-year terms on Supreme Court was Lucindo Suarez, who gave Schlein six separate and lucrative appointments from the bench. Schlein's handling of his court-appointed caseload produced so many complaints that he was booted from the approved list of court-appointed fiduciaries in February, 2006. As the Voice detailed later that year, Schlein caused one family to lose a home to foreclosure and another's property to be listed as abandoned. He ignored pleas from the family of an 87-year old retired Irish domestic worker to set aside funds so that her last surviving friend could pay for car service to visit her at a Bronx nursing home. At the same time, Schlein kept the woman's entire $240,000 savings in a one-percent savings account at a bank owned by one of his other clients.
Exiled briefly from Bronx Democratic politics after a dispute with former party leader Jose Rivera, Schlein rode back to power with new Bronx leader Assemblyman Carl Heastie. Schlein hasn't shown up yet as one of Mayor Bloomberg's massive reelection expenditures, but not because the mayor doesn't remember him fondly.
As Joyce Purnick reveals in her new political bio, Mike Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, Schlein was working the phones in Bloomberg's midtown hotel suite on election night in 2001, counting votes alongside Bloomberg pollster Doug Schoen as the Republican businessman vanquished Schlein's Democratic party that night. A couple of years later, the mayor named Schlein as the $63,000 part-time chairman of the Civil Service Commission. Schlein was later fined $15,000 after a Conflicts of Interest Board investigation found that he'd used the office and its staff for his private law practice.