A dozen Brooklyn electeds – 10 of them Black – yesterday ripped into unfounded allegations lodged last week against Judge Dweynie Esther Paul — a Black woman and frontrunner in the Kings County Surrogate’s Court race and her deceased mother.
TheCity.Com, a non-profit digital media outlet did two stories here and here about a 2017 settled lawsuit involving alleged underpayment of a home care worker hired to help Paul’s now-deceased mother between 2013-2017.
In an emailed statement, Paul said the stories were used in attempts to assassinate her character and a family decision was made to resolve the case in an effort to allow to enjoy their time with their mother until she passed in 2019 with dementia.
“This matter was disclosed in detail to the judicial screening panel. I never employed the complainant. As a Black woman, raised in a union household, I personally understand, respect, and stand for all workers in the fight for strong labor laws. I am running to reform our Surrogate Court. I know voters will judge me on my judicial merits, integrity, and character,” Paul said.
Among the Brooklyn elected officials speaking out in support of Paul and her integrity were U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, State Senators Kevin Parker and Roxanne J. Persaud; Assembly Members; Nick Perry, Latrice Walker, Rodneyse Bichotte, Jaime Williams, Mathylde Frontus and Stefani Zinerman; and Council Members Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Farah N. Louis, Robert Cornegy, Mark Treyger and Justin Brannan.
“As Black women seek to advance — especially in public service, I’ve noticed an alarming trend: the impugning of their character by accusations largely unrelated to their duties. This is a harmful and divisive practice that must cease immediately,” said Clarke.“Judge Dweynie Esther Paul has diligently served our beloved city, and I am confident she will continue to do so.”
Paul–currently a civil court judge, and George Washington University Law School graduate–was found qualified by an independent judicial screening panel, composed of practicing lawyers from various bar associations.
Surrogate’s judges serve 14-year terms and award lucrative appointments to the lawyers to handle the estates of Brooklynites who died without a will. Nearly all counties in New York have one per county. Kings County has two.
While “progressive” district leaders allege Paul is the candidate of the entrenched Kings County Democratic Democratic Party, both its Chair BIchotte Hermelyn and Perry – who are known to have a political rivary – are supporting Paul.
“Paul’s accomplishments on and off the bench demonstrate her character, integrity, compassion and fairness. No longer will the estates of low income and minority individuals, be treated as income creators for a select group of wealthy lawyers.” said Perry.
“In the face of systemic inequities which have reached a boiling point over the course of the pandemic, it is more important now than ever, that the person we support for Surrogate will stand for the interests of the people,” said Bichotte Hermelyn. “I will always support the most qualified candidate for the job. In this case, that is unequivocally Judge Paul.”