Queens, NY — Gerard J. Sweeney, Esq. the General Counsel for the Public Administrator of Queen County’s office was caught sleeping on the job in the Surrogate Court Case of Zofia Lengiewicz. In June 2015, BW reported a case of corruption in Queen’s Surrogate Court, where Dorothy Kozlowski, the infuriated and frustrated granddaughter of Lengiewicz, out of options came to BW to help get her story out there.
Every now and then we like to revisit stories like this to see if there is any progress, any news, any further complications we can share as an update. Much to our surprise when we saw the picture above in the New York Post over a story titled, $1.6M isn’t enough to keep this city-appointed lawyer awake in court. Upon further reading not only as this the same lawyer we wrote about, it was the same case we covered last summer.
Sweeny described by the NY Post as a Democratic heavyweight with major connections appears to give some credibility to the claims, Kozlowski told BW last summer, when many did not take her seriously:
Sweeney, a Democratic Party heavyweight, heads one of the most powerful law firms in Queens and gets a percentage of each estate he handles.
The 62-year-old lawyer from Old Westbury, LI, is close with Rep. Joseph Crowley, the Queens Democratic boss. He donated $6,000 to Crowley’s campaigns between 1998 and 2004. He kicked in $3,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign this year.
Sweeney’s Democratic-Party bonafides go back to the 1980s, when he worked as campaign treasurer for Queens Rep. Thomas Manton, his former law partner. Manton handpicked Crowley to run for his seat in 1998.
Under the picture above ran the caption: Gerard Sweeney, who made $1.6 million last year handling disputed estates, nods off at a Queens Surrogate Court deposition this past summer.
“Here is a man who was getting more money per hour than my bi-weekly check and he’s sleeping,” Dorothy Kozlowski tells the NY Post. “I don’t know what word to use beyond disgusting.
According to the NY Post article; Sweeney’s snooze-fests took place this summer during depositions at Queens Surrogate Court.
Kozlowsky is still fighting for the money awarded to her family in a botched surgery that led to her grandmother, Zofia Lengiewicz death. The family was award one million dollars. Of the Million Dollars, there was a $350,000 lien from Medicaid for medical bills which may or may not have included the botched surgery. The family lost their fight for a third of the money awarded being snatched up by medicaid, after an unnecessary kinship trial to establish kinship, between the family members which none of the heirs were objecting to anyone. An unnecessary trial that cost additional $1,000’s of dollar.
Despite the small amount that hasn’t been eaten up and the five way split, for Kozlowsky who has since lost her job from devoting too my time to fight for her families inheritance, as well as her resident,keeps fighting. While she could really used the money at this point it’s the principal of the matter that keeps her fighting despite the odds of receiving a favorable outcome, she gives a David slaying Goliath effort and vows to fight until the end.
The Post article reports;
Political patronage has plagued New York City’s Surrogate’s Courts for decades. Robert F. Kennedy in 1966 compared them to “a political tollbooth exacting tribute from widows and orphans.”
Last year, a Brooklyn accountant who worked for the Brooklyn Public Administrator’s Office was convicted of grand larceny for stealing $2.6 million from seven estates. Richard Paul is serving six to 18 years in prison.
In The Bronx, the former counsel to the public administrator pleaded guilty to intentionally overcharging estates nearly $146,000. Michael Lippman, who was counsel to the Bronx public administrator for more than 30 years, was fired in April 2009.
Kowlowsky hopes her endless battle to fight for her family’s inheritance, will yield a similar outcome.
“I’m tired, I wish this was over, but I refuse to quit,” Kozlowsky tells BW. “I refused to allow them to get away with stealing my family’s money, they do this to everyone. Someone has to be the one who stands up and says enough, and expose this corruption.”
Kozlowsky and family will be back in court Friday, February 5th for what she termed a Guardianship Accounting Trial.
Gerard J. Sweeney was not available for comment. We left a voice mail at his office and have not heard back before the posting of this article.
BW will continue to follow this developing story.