The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct is set to hold a rare public proceeding today in the matter of Bronx County Surrogate Lee Holzman (See Profile). This summer, a referee found that Holzman should have fired Michael Lippman, the former chief counsel to the Bronx public administrator, and reported him to the First Department Disciplinary Committee in 2006 when he discovered that Lippman had collected excessive legal fees from estates. But the referee rejected the rest of the charges brought against Holzman last year by the conduct commission, including that Lippman’s misconduct was caused by Holzman’s failure to supervise him, and that Holzman should have disqualified himself from Lippman’s cases because Lippman was helping Holzman with his re-election campaign (NYLJ, July 24).
Today’s hearing before the 11-member commission will consider how much of the report to adopt and what sanction to impose. Commission administrator Robert Tembeckjian has proposed that he be removed from office, even though Holzman must retire at the end of the year. Commission proceedings are confidential by law, but Holzman previously waived confidentiality, so the oral argument is open to press and public. The hearing is set for 2:15 p.m. at 61 Broadway, one block south of Wall Street. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.