Judge sues Brooklyn Democratic Party for defamation

A supreme court judge is suing the Kings County Democratic Party for defamation.

Judge Laura Jacobson is claiming county boss Frank Seddio (inset) and the party’s judicial screening committee devastated her reputation — and killed her chances of landing another job — by anonymously telling the press she was mediocre and unqualified for the position she has held for the last 14 years, according to her attorney.

“She’ll be unemployed, because the defendants ruined her lifelong reputation,” said attorney Ravi Batra. “Instead of having this wonderful reputation she earned over her lifetime, they made her out to be a lazy bum, so who is going to hire her? Nobody wants a lazy idiot but that’s what they made her out to be. It has to come out of the screening committee because only the screening committee knew it. This leaking, and not just leaking, they leaked false defamation. It’s a really a twisted, upsidedown story.”

Jacobson is being punished for not using her professional position to help party bigwigs, the lawyer said.

She delayed the contentious sale of Long Island College Hospital in 2014 by issuing a temporary restraining order on the State University of New York, which ram the institution. Seddio’s friend and former law partner Frank Carrone represented the state in that case and was none too happy about Jacobson’s ruling, the suit claims.

“She did not show favoritism, she followed the law, she wasn’t a political puppet — that’s her crime,” Batra said.

But attorneys for the party and the screening committee are asking Brooklyn judge LaShann DeArcy Hall to toss Jacobson’s suit as groundless.

The committee is part of a political group — not a governmental one — and has the constitutional right to vet candidates as it sees fit, according to the panel’s attorney, George Carpinello.

“We are saying we are not a government, not a state actor. And second, as a political party, the Kings County Committee has the First Amendment right to have a screening process, and it would be unconstitutional for the courts to interfere with that process,” he said.

The libel accusations are bunk too, Carpinello said.

“We don’t believe there’s any basis for it,” he said. “We know of no evidence that occurred.”

• • •

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill on Oct. 21, that would issue $7,500 fines to people who illegally rent out their apartments on home-sharing service AirBnB.

The bill had support from a slew of pols, including the public advocate, as well as the Manhattan, Queens, and Bronx borough presidents. But absent from that list was Borough President Adams, (inset) who has publicly supported AirBnB and whose under-investigation non-profit Campaign for One Brooklyn received $32,000 from the company.

The law that Cuomo signed steepened the punishment for a practice that is already illegal — renting out your apartment for fewer than 30 days when you will not be there.

Critics have said that AirBnB exacerbates the city’s high rents by encouraging people to rent buildings they own as pricey short-stays rather than signing leases with actual New Yorkers.

Adams and Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. (D–Bedford-Stuyvesant) sent a letter to Cuomo on Sept. 9 urging him not to pass the bill, claiming that some Brooklynites rely on the income.

“This bill would impose steep fines on New Yorkers who use home-sharing as a resource for badly needed income,” the letter states. “The people in Brooklyn — and indeed the tens of thousands of responsible home-sharers across New York — deserve a comprehensive solution that protects their ability to maintain this modest income, not another misguided law that makes it more difficult to get by in the state they love.”

Adams is out of the country and was not available for further comment, a spokesman said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.