A source close to the courts tells me that Governor Andrew Cuomo has offered former State Senator Mark Grisanti a judgeship. Cuomo is nominating Grisanti for the Court of Claims.
The Court of Claims is the exclusive forum for civil litigation seeking damages against the State of New York or certain other State-related entities such as the New York State Thruway Authority, the City University of New York, the Olympic Regional Development Authority, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Corporation and the New York State Power Authority.
The former Senator was a close and sometimes pivotal ally for Cuomo. The appointment has been raising eyebrows. Critics say that it erodes confidence in the courts, raising questions of illegitimacy.
The Court of Claims consists twenty-seven judges, all of whom are appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the senate. The term of each judge is ten years. Judges are banned from private practice during their term, and are banned from holding any other public office.
The salary for the judgeship is $136,500.
His appointment to the court is good news for Kevin Stocker, who soundly defeated Grisanti in the Republican primary last year. Stocker remains popular across party lines. He has not said publicly whether he is considering the race.
Embattled placeholder Marc Panepinto has been unable to shake criticisms relating to multiple incidents of election fraud and improper campaign activities, which will surely make reelection an uphill battle.