Landlord Kamran Hakim is struggling to find a judge to oversee his lawsuit against Letitia James thanks to the Public Advocate’s many friends in courts.
On Tuesday, a fourth judge recused himself from overseeing the trial, pointing to his friendship with James. “I would hate for us to go further in this knowing that photographs with me and her at birthdays and at my children’s christening would come out,” the judge, W. Franc Perry, said. Now the Manhattan Supreme Court will randomly assign a judge, in a fifth attempt.
Hakim is suing James for placing him at number 52 of her worst landlords ranking in 2016 and at 34 in 2015. “The public advocate’s watch list creates an undue and avoidable harm to those wrongly identified as the ‘worst landlords,” wrote a lawyer for Hakim, who collected 453 violations at four buildings alone in 2016.
In court filings, the developer said four of the six buildings cited in James’ report are actually vacant.
Hakim owns more than 100 buildings across the city. In December, the Hakim Organization and Property Markets Group sold the Clock Tower site in Long Island City to the Durst Organization for $175 million. [NYP] — Konrad Putzier