Kelly, Hulme and Mrs. Caesar

Friday, May 09, 2008

Kelly, Hulme and Mrs. Caesar

From More of "The Story"...

"Robert A. Kelly, Jr., known to most as 'Gus,' serves as Westhampton Beach Village Justice. And while only his part­ner Jim Hulme appears before any Vill­age Boards, did someone say 'Conflict of Interest?'"

One who appears to is the New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics.

In "Opinon No. 632," dated March 23, 1992 and still controlling, the Ethics Committee is clear on the issue of part-time judges being prohibited from appearing before Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board of the same municipality in which they serve, and express some strong views on disqualification of part­ners and associates of the judge.

The application in question is Westhampton Beach Associates' proposed 39 three-bedroom condos on Old Riverhead Road, which quite directly led to the $25 million 1983 Action.

attorney James N. Hulme

While the Muchnicks are rep­re­sented by An­drew J. Campanelli of Cam­panelli & Associates, PC in the lawsuit, their attorney of record in the appli­cations before the Village is James N. Hulme, of Kelly & Hulme, P.C., i.e., the under­lying law firm, and this is where the State Bar Associ­ation might take note since their con­trolling opinion states:

"(W)hether the partners and associates of the part-time judge may practice before the boards of the same municipality depends on the particular facts and cir­cum­stances."

The entire, 1250-word opinion, for the pur­poses of context, is available on-line, but some instructive pass­ages include:

"Clearly, the partners and associates of a part-time judge may not represent or imply that hiring the firm will result in using the influence of the judge in zoning and planning matters."

Hello!

"The judge may not circumvent the force of (Code of Judicial Conduct)'s Canon 2 by sending a partner or associate to represent the judge's clients before these boards."

And...

"(V)icarious disqualifica­tion should not be imposed if the judge's partners and associates have an ongoing independent practice before these boards, the judge is screened from any involvement, and their practice is con­ducted without using or even appearing to use the name and influence of the judge."

The critical element at issue here is the "appearance of impropriety, prejudice or favoritism."

Like Caesar's wife, those who serve the Village, and their associates, must be above suspicion.

Comments

1. EndThisTyrannyNow! said...

Re: Conflicts of Interest. A School District official should not enter into discussion at a Board of Education meeting, much less fail to abstain from voting on, a contract which will result in his own direct financial benefit; TO WIT -- Hulme and Terchunian are 50% beneficiaries of negotiated salary increases to the biggest vendor the District does business with -- The Teachers' Union. The only question remaining is WHEN does the angry citizen commence proceedings for their removal???

So then the name "Westhampton Beach Union Free School District" is a misnomer? Is that why I've always inserted a "{sic}" after those words?
You make a good observation, and the attorney for the Board of Ed should be asked to respond to this matter… or perhaps it should be referred to the appropriate Committee on Ethics.
– Dean

2. unknown said...

Why doesn't someone look into the title company right upstairs from them. He happens to be the brother of kelly, (also kelly and hulme is a silenc partners in that title company. Someone should look into that matter. And for that they should remove kelly as judge.

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