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DA Thomas Spota seeks investigation of Poquott village judge

The Village of Poquott sign on March 1,

The Village of Poquott sign on March 1, 1996. Credit: Newsday / Dan Goodrich

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota has asked state authorities to look into a Poquott resident’s complaint that a village judge threatened to condemn her home over an alleged building-code violation.

The homeowner, Marie Makrides, said Village Justice Paul Edelson ordered her during a May 25 court appearance to stop collecting rent on an apartment at her home, even though her case on code violations was not related to the apartment.

Makrides’ lawyer, Ray Negron of Mount Sinai, said the confrontation with Edelson left Makrides with “emotional distress requiring medical attention.”

Spota, in a May 31 letter to the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, asked the agency to review the incident. Spota said in the letter that Makrides and Negron had spoken to district attorney’s office staff about the issue.

Commission spokeswoman Marisa Harrison declined to comment, saying complaints filed with the agency are confidential. She could not say when the complaint may be heard by the commission.

The commission, which reviews complaints about judges throughout the state, includes 11 commissioners appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, legislative leaders and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, Harrison said.

Negron, in a notice of claim filed with village officials, said Edelson violated Makrides’ civil rights by threatening to condemn her property. A notice of claim is a precursor to a lawsuit.

“Marie Makrides was not in court for any alleged violations of rental laws and there are no laws regulating the rental of real property within the Village of Poquott, and the village justice has no authority or jurisdiction to initiate or approve any ‘condemnation’ actions,” Negron wrote in the notice of claim.

Edelson and Village Attorney Joseph Prokop could not be reached for comment.

“It’s disappointing that a judge would use his position to threaten me,” Makrides said in a statement.

Makrides had been cited in February for three alleged code violations. Two were related to a septic system overflow from her home. The third was for allegedly having a second kitchen, Spota said in his letter.

Makrides removed the second kitchen and agreed with Prokop to plead guilty and pay a $250 fine, Spota wrote.

Spota said in his letter that Makrides said Edelson then threatened to condemn the house if she did not stop renting a room to a tenant. Makrides withdrew her guilty plea, Spota wrote.

She is due back in court on June 22.

Poquott Mayor Dolores Parrish said she had not seen the notice of claim and could not comment.

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