Well, well, well, the rumor was true after all.
Bellantoni’s last day as a judge was Monday, June 8. This morning, he was spotted with Lovett at the Mount Vernon city courthouse.
The Republican ex-judge never told me where he was going after leaving the bench, but a few weeks ago I asked Lovett point-blank if Bellantoni was going to work at his firm, and he told me “No.”
That comment was included in a news story about Bellantoni’s departure.
Today, my colleague, Jonathan Bandler, confronted Lovett after seeing him and Bellantoni together. Lovett claimed that he didn’t lie. You see, he explained, the question was if Bellantoni was going to work at my firm, which at the time was Lovett and Gould. That firm no longer exists; Lovett split from his longtime legal partner, Jane Gould, and now is working with Bellantoni and two other attorneys.
Isn’t this why people don’t trust lawyers?
There are some interesting connections between Lovett and the ex-judge. In February, Bellantoni granted disability benefits in February to suspended Harrison police officer Ralph Tancredi, one of Lovett’s clients. Lovett successfully defended Tancredi against domestic violence charges after the officer’s ex-girlfriend refused to testify against him.
Both Lovett and Bellantoni have gotten public accolades from the Westchester Guardian, the local tabloid run by strip-club owner Sam Zherka, another controversial figure around these parts. Zherka lauded Bellantoni’s 2007 decision to overturn the 1997 murder conviction of Richard DiGuglielmo, based on the recanted testimony of one eyewitness.
The town of Harrison and the Westchester District Attorney’s office are appealing Bellantoni’s rulings on Tancredi and DiGuglielmo, respecitvely.