The anti-nepotism reforms followed on years of Post reporting by Haberman, Allen Salkin and the late Jack Newfield.
Back in 1998, they found that the vast majority of lawyers receiving repeat Queens Surrogate Court assignments had direct ties to the county Democratic Party and its then-leader, Rep. Thomas Manton.
Newfield later noted that Manton’s own firm had received more than $400,000 in court patronage from 1997 to 2000. The Crowley clan had similar success.
Those exposés (Brooklyn had its own outrages) helped force a 2002 review by the state’s then-Chief Judge Judith Kaye that found rampant cronyism in the Supreme and Civil Court systems. The “cure” included the rules that the Crowley clan got caught violating in 2011.
But those reforms plainly didn’t go far enough. Newfield’s charge that the “patronage courtrooms in Brooklyn and Queens” might as well be “rigged casinos in Las Vegas” still rings true.
At a minimum, it’s surely time for current Chief Judge Janet DiFiore to lead a new review. The rising odor is a sign the stables need cleaning again.