So at long last, the slumlord, anesthesiologist Esmat Zaklama, appeared before Guttenberg, New Jersey Municipal Judge Frank Leanza. Here’s a little history on Dr. Zaklama (from the New Jersey Law Journal):
“Dr. Zaklama has a history in North Jersey of being a slumlord,” said Judge Leanza. Summonses issued to him by Guttenberg and other towns would go ignored for years, and fines continued to mount up. “The police had to find him and arrest him.”
When Zaklama was finally brought before Judge Leanza in March 2006, he had amassed over $200,000 in fines.
Leanza said Zaklama had appeared before him once before and, facing high bail, appeared to fake a heart attack but then checked himself out of the hospital the next day without undergoing any tests.
So guess what Zaklama did when he appeared before Judge Leanza?
“He grabbed his chest again,” said Leanza. “We [the judge and court staff] looked at him and laughed. We assumed he again feigned a heart attack.” Eventually, Zaklama walked out of the courtroom.
So why is Judge Leanza, a judge in good standing for 17 years, facing a reprimand? Because after hearing Zaklama’s excuses for ignoring all those summonses, he called it “a lot of bullshit.” Zaklama told the judge that he had not answered the summonses or warrants because he was away. How did Judge Leanza know this was bullshit? Because he had run into Zaklama in different town halls on numerous occasions! Frankly, it’s bullshit that the judge is facing any charges! Here’s hoping he walks. You can read more here.