A former Glen Cove deputy city attorney has filed a complaint against City Court Judge Richard McCord alleging he retaliated against her for refusing to sign his petition for re-election last summer.
Kristina Heuser filed the complaint with the state Commission on Judicial Conduct in April and resigned from her position as deputy city attorney in June.
“I have been admitted to practice for approximately 10 years and this is the first occasion on which I have filed a complaint against any judge, court personnel, or attorney,” Heuser wrote in the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by Newsday. “However, I feel compelled to do so on this occasion because I believe I have an obligation to do so for the sake of the integrity of the court system and the legal profession.”
Court spokesman Daniel Bagnuola said in a statement on McCord's behalf that “commission proceedings are, by law, confidential” and that “no inference should be drawn from the fact a judge, or representative of a judge, is prohibited from commenting.”
A spokeswoman for the judicial commission said she “can’t confirm, deny or comment on the existence of a complaint.”
Heuser wrote in the complaint that last June she was approached by an attorney, who she believed was acting as McCord’s manager, while McCord was seated at the bench “less than 10 feet away.” The attorney presented her with the petition and after Heuser said she needed time to think about it, the attorney told her she was being “stupid” and was making a “career decision.”
“From that incident forward, through the present day, I have been completely maligned, attacked, and marginalized by the Judge and his chief clerk,” Heuser wrote.
She was then terminated from her position as Teen Court coordinator and told by the city attorney she was not entitled to payment for that supplemental work, Heuser said in the complaint. She then met with McCord and agreed to be paid a reduced amount of $7,500 upon the condition that he stop the “retaliatory conduct," according to the complaint.
Bagnuola said that Heuser was not terminated but that she had "completed her term" as Teen Court coordinator.
“I think judges are not supposed to be political at all and this is definitely something that was politically motivated," Heuser, who is in private practice in Locust Valley, said in an interview. "There shouldn’t have been petitions in the courtroom. He shouldn’t have had another attorney approach me with a petition to sign right in front of him.”
McCord also stopped calling her by her name in court and instead referred to her as "city" and effectively cut her hours in half by transferring all city cases to Wednesdays only instead of two days per week, according to the complaint.