Surrogate's Court Candidate Anderson's $225K Loan

A Manhattan Surrogate’s Court candidate, Milton Tingling, is calling on the attorney general to investigate the $225,000 loan received by one of his opponents, Nora Anderson.

The loan was disclosed in Anderson’s campaign finance filing (for the period of January 12-July 11, 2008) and the money came from Seth Rubenstein, an attorney in Brooklyn.

Ravi Batra, Tingling’s finance chair, said in a letter to Andrew Cuomo’s office, dated today, that the loan could "serve to undermine public confidence" in the court. In a brief interview Batra told me he wants an investigation to "insure that there is no pay-to-play violation, and that all contributions are legal and not criminal.”

Batra’s complaint is that such a large loan from a trust and estates lawyer could, theoretically, result in that contributor getting a disproportionate amount of work from the court, and, in general, favored treatment from the judge.

Anderson’s campaign manager, Michael Oliva, defended the loan, and said, "How about an investigation into Ravi Batra?"

Batra is a colorful character in New York’s legal scene who got wrapped up in Surrogate’s Court politics in Brooklyn and at one point sued the television show Law & Order for what he said was an unflattering portrayal.

Maybe it was a little predictable that a campaign full of lawyers would devolve into threats of lawsuit.

Anyway, here are the finance numbers for the three candidates:

Anderson raised $316,790.36 and spent $202,062.38.

Tingling raised $66,699.00 and spent $39,498.68.

John Reddy raised $421,281.06 and spent $48,681.01.