Hempstead mayor, justice trade charges
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Hempstead Village Mayor Wayne J. Hall Sr. and village justice Tanya Hobson-Williams Thursday called for each other's resignation. Hall has accused Hobson-Williams of judicial misconduct and the judge said the mayor has sexually harassed her.
Hobson-Williams last month filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights accusing Hall of sexual harassment, discrimination and intimidation.
Hobson-Williams, 46, who was appointed in 2008 and elected to the $61,000-a-year position in 2009, also sent a letter last week to Hall saying she intends to file a federal lawsuit against him and the village seeking $5 million in damages.
"The bottom line is it appears to us the mayor has used his power and his influence to make sexual advances towards her," her attorney Rick Ostrove, of Carle Place, said Thursday. "When she rejected his sexual harassment, he retaliated against her."
Hall, 65, said in an interview Tuesday that Hobson-Williams made the accusations because he didn't want to run with her on the Democratic Party line in the village elections in March. He said the judge also is upset with him for filing a complaint against her in 2011 with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct. He alleged she installed a vending machine owned by a family member in the court clerk check-in and payment area without permission in 2010.
Hobson-Williams, who acknowledged Hall's complaint was filed, said she had permission from the state Office of Court Administration to install the vending machine. She said Hall filed his complaint after she wrote the village human resources department in 2010 about his alleged sexual harassment; she could not immediately produce the letter. Hall said she never filed such a complaint.
Hall also said Hobson-Williams tried to preside over her own court case in 2011, involving a summons for failing to install a new water meter in her home. Hobson-Williams said the case still is open and waiting to be heard by another judge.
Hobson-Williams, the village's first African-American female judge, alleged in her complaint that in 2009 Hall asked her twice to meet in Brooklyn where they "could get together and no one would recognize them" and to "wear something sexy," but she rejected his advances. A year later, Hall allegedly asked her to meet him at a hotel in Brooklyn and she again declined.
She alleged in her complaint Hall said he could help her politically but they "would have to get to know each other better."
"All that she says about me is not true," Hall said Tuesday. "I would never do that."
Hobson-Williams was asked by deputy village attorney Joseph Coryat before hearing cases Wednesday night to recuse herself, but she declined, saying she could be impartial.
"She needs to resign because she would have to recuse herself from every case," village attorney Debra Urbano-DiSalvo said Tuesday. She joined Hall at a news conference Thursday at village hall. "She can't be partial and unbiased if she's suing the village."
With Matthew Chayes