David Bookstaver, a longtime spokesman for New York’s Office of Court Administration, has been fired after reportedly inadvertently dialing a New York Post reporter and leaving a voicemail in which he could be heard laughing about how he “barely” showed up to work.
According to the Post, Bookstaver accidentally called back a reporter who was working on a story about his truancy and was heard on a voicemail telling others that he lied to the reporter and that sources’ reports that he often works as few as two days a week were correct.
“But, frankly, look, the bottom line: The story’s true. I’m not doing anything. I barely show up to work and I’ve been caught,” Bookstaver was heard saying in the message, according to the report.
Bookstaver had served as spokesman since 1996 after a stint with the city’s Emergency Medical Service.
When Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janet DiFiore took office in February 2016, she brought along Lucian Chalfen, her spokesman from her time as Westchester district attorney, to serve as the OCA’s primary mouthpiece.
Bookstaver stayed on as a “communications director” and was tasked with working on “longer-term media projects, communications strategies and crisis management,” Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks told the Law Journal, and that he would no longer handle day-to-day press inquiries.
In his telltale voicemail, Bookstaver can be heard telling others that he doesn’t come into work “because they took away all my responsibilities and left my pay.”
“New Yorkers look to their court system for excellence and accountability, and we will always act to apply those standards to all of our employees all across New York state,” said Chalfen in an emailed statement. “While there are occasional abuses of office, we take those abuses extremely seriously and whenever we learn about them we will always act to hold the offenders accountable.”
Bookstaver did not respond to a message requesting comment. He was paid more than $166,000 per year and was set to retire on Oct. 1.