By Brendan Browne
A former attorney from Forest Hills, who was disbarred nearly a decade ago on charges of participating in a major city scandal involving the Parking Violations Bureau, was arrested last week for allegedly attempting to practice law in a small claims court.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said that Samson Jochnowitz, of 61-20 Grand Central Parkway, allegedly tried to represent Princeton Land Company, a Rego Park real estate management company, in a Jamaica court. Jochnowitz, 69, could face up to one year in jail if convicted.
When Judge Augustus Agate challenged Jochnowitz’s status as an attorney for the company, Jochnowitz allegedly claimed he had been recertified to practice law within the past two years, Brown said.
Jochnowitz was disbarred in 1993 by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department on charges that he acted as a liaison between his law partner and Parking Violations Bureau official Geoffrey Lindenauer, who awarded contracts to private collection companies in return for kickbacks.
The PVB scandal rocked the city and the administration of former Mayor Ed Koch in the 1980s as several major city leaders and minor officials were convicted of crimes such as accepting bribes and extortion.
Former Queens Borough President Donald Manes’ role in the fiasco led to his suicide shortly after he resigned amid corruption accusations. He killed himself with a kitchen knife before prosecutors could serve him with an indictment. At the time, Lindenauer had been arrested and was preparing to testify against Manes. The mayor had called Manes a crook.
For Jochnowitz’s alleged role in the scandal, he was forbidden to appear as an attorney before any court, judge, justice, board, commission or other public authority.
Queens Assistant District Attorney Daniel O’Leary of the office’s Integrity Bureau will prosecute the case.
You can reach reporter Brendan Browne by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 155.