Judges gobble up iPads, iPhones and computers using taxpayer cash
‘Pad’ding expense accounts with ‘Apples’
It’s an order from the court — send me an iPad!
New York City judges are gobbling up Apple iPads, iPhones and computers with taxpayer cash.
The Apple gadgets were the favorite purchases of judges who enjoy a $10,000-a-year allowance, according to a review of 2011 reimbursement records obtained by The Post.
Judges also used the money for Internet service at their homes — and sometimes vacation homes, for newspaper deliveries, cellphone costs and travel to conferences as far away as California and Puerto Rico. They bought GPS navigation systems, judicial license plates and water coolers and refrigerators for their chambers and charged it to taxpayers.
All of the expenses are sanctioned by the court system, which gives judges the yearly $10,000 taxable lump-sum payment they can spend however they please. Most judges take the cash, but some opt for a partial cash payment and then bill the court system for expenses. Others submit claims for the entire $10,000 allowance, which is then not taxable.
Some judges, like Manhattan Civil Court Judge Jennifer Schecter, spent every last penny. Schecter bought a $1,785.83 Apple laptop, a $106.95 printer from the Apple store and a $889.51 Apple iPad with a protection plan and case. She was reimbursed for just $517.51 of the iPad costs because she had exceeded the $10,000 limit.
Family Court Judge Gloria Sosa-Linter spent $2,284.20 for a computer at Tekserve. She also reached the $10,000 limit and got reimbursed for $1,649.
Housing Court Judge Maria Ressos bought an iPhone and an iPad, paying an identical $759.29 for each, she claimed in records. She was reimbursed for only $740 because she had maxed out her limit.
The court also pays for travel to educational conferences.
Kristin Booth Glen, a surrogate-court judge, spent $1,214.75 to attend the American Bar Association conference at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto.
The allowances cost the courts about $12.6 million a year.
The money was meant to make up for the lack of a pay raise. Judges had not seen an increase in their salaries since 1999 but are getting hikes starting this month.
The annual salaries for state Supreme Court judges rose to $160,000 this month, from $136,700. Two additional hikes will bring salaries to $174,000 in 2014.
“The expenses accounts, if still needed, should probably be half of what they are now given they have received these raises,” said Dick Dadey, executive director of government watchdog Citizens Union.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/free_spending_judges_are_ipigs_3yr1Pr6N1QV3HyaPPaOowL#ixzz1tQNJSzTF