In The News
Candidate for Suffolk Surrogate’s Court Judge Tara A. Scully is running to stop the back room deals and ensure that Suffolk County voters have a choice. To learn more why Tara is running we have provided below a chronology of the corruption of the Surrogate’s Court judgeship through media reports and how Tara has worked to thwart such continued corruption. To learn about Tara’s plan to ensure an independent judiciary and to view her qualifying credentials, please see her 3-Point Judicial Selection Reform Plan here.
Newsday, Rick Brand, May 19, 2018.
An overview of the deal that was coming together between the Conservative, Democrat and the Independence party boss leaders to only have one candidate on the ballot run on all three lines. This type of cross endorsement deal making was meant to prevent Suffolk County voters from having a choice of candidates and to ensure that party bosses hold onto “the biggest prize… the patronage-rich post of Surrogate’s Court Judge… which [grants the judge] the ability to award millions of dollars in patronage through appointments for guardians and conservators in estate cases.”
Newsday, Editorial Board, June 28, 2018
“Another election year, another deal by Suffolk County Democratic Party leader Rich Schaffer and the leaders of the local Conservative and Independence parties that will deprive voters of real choices….There must be someone willing to step up…Winning might be elusive, but standing up for democratic principles should provide its own satisfactions.”
In late June the Newsday Editorial Board blasted Suffolk County Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer for cutting a deal to allow the wife of the Conservative Party Chair to run as a Democrat on not only the Democratic line, but also the Conservative and Independence party lines. In response to this egregious effort, Newsday puts out a help wanted ad calling on someone with a “backbone” to challenge the backroom deals by running against the party bosses anointed candidate.
Newsday, July 11, 2018.
Tara A. Scully’s candidacy would “launch a wrecking ball at the plans of Democratic Party county leader Rich Schaffer, who has once again put together a cross-endorsement deal that serves party leaders but not voters…”
Just two weeks after Newsday’s Editorial Board’s plea for a candidate with a “backbone” Tara A. Scully, a Setauket attorney running her own estates and planning law practice serving Longer Islanders, responded to Newsday’s “Help Wanted” ad. Newsday emphasizes that the Tara’s candidacy would launch a wrecking ball… at the “flagship deal is for surrogate judge, a patronage-rich position that assigns lucrative legal work, like the processing of wills and guardianships. Bosses expect those assignments to go to party stalwarts.“
Newsday, July 13, 2018
Tara A. Scully submits a Letter to the Editor announcing that she is entering the Surrogate’s race under a reform banner in response to Newsday’s editorial. In the letter, she writes, “I am proud to step forward to offer voters an alternative to the political deal-making that has made it almost impossible for independent qualified candidates to become judges in Suffolk County.”
Newsday, The Point, July 18, 2018
“[Theresa] Whelan, a Democrat, is the wife of Supreme Court Judge Thomas Whelan, who is closely tied to the Independence Party and was embroiled in several controversial lawsuits which included the jailed former Conservative Party leader…”
After Tara As. Scully unexpectedly blows up the party bosses cross endorsement deal, Newsday details how Suffolk County Democratic Party Rich Schaffer scrambles to switch out the wife of the Conservative Party chair for Theresa Whelan, the wife of Judge Thomas Whelan who has been embroiled in lawsuits related to deals with the jailed former Conservative party chair Ed Walsh and Oheka Castle owner, Gary Melius. Newsday once again recognizes that although the names have changed “the backroom deal with the minor parties is essentially still in place.”
To learn how deep the corruption supported by some party bosses runs in Suffolk County and how the race for Surrogate’s Court Judge is now embroiled in the effort to continue the back room deals, Newsday conducted an investigative series of articles that included the husband of Theresa Whelan. Judge Thomas Whelan is highlighted in two of the main stories, Where the Money Went, Judge Awarded the Most Lucrative Foreclosure Cases to Oheka Castle Owner and Associates and Judge has Personal, Political Links to Melius Ally. In this series, Newsday describes how Judge Thomas Whelan,
- doled out lucrative receiverships to Oheka Castle Owner Gary Melius, in violation of court rules while Melius paid Independence Party leader Frank MacKay a six figure salary as a consultant at Oheka Castle; and
- issued a ruling taking control of a company away from its founding owner to hand it over to to Gary Melius only for Melius to try to place Independence Party leader Frank MacKay on the board while his actions were supported by jailed former Suffolk County Conservative Chair Ed Walsh.