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#cut50 and Other Social Justice Organizations Call for Investigation into Meek Mill's Judge for Omitting Property Records and Corporate Affiliations in Mandatory Financial Disclosure

 

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- #cut50 and Color Of Change are today calling for an ethics investigation into Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley following the discovery that the judge has failed to file accurate financial disclosure forms.

A review of Judge Brinkley's "Statement of Financial Interests" forms filed with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court between 2007 and 2016 identified 44 instances in which Judge Brinkley did not disclose receiving rental income, her ownership interest in multiple for-profit businesses, and her status as an officer of one of those businesses.

All judges in Pennsylvania are required to fill out these forms annually and their disclosures regarding certain real estate assets, gifts, debt, income sources, and corporate affiliations must also include information for their spouse, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

The amount of income that the judge omitted from her financial disclosure forms is unknown, but includes profits on real estate sales and rental income. The 16 property-related omissions include:

  • 1950 Castor was not disclosed eight times (2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016).  It was sold in June 2017.  
  • 5010 Penn Street was not disclosed seven times (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 – 2017 disclosures are not filed until mid-2018).  Notably, Brinkley was involved in one landlord/tenant lawsuit during that time, in 2012 (LT-12-08-01-3207). This property is still owned by Brinkley.
  • 1111 Wakeling Street – proceeds of the sale of this property were not disclosed in 2012.

"It's shocking and concerning to me that this judge, with her history of inappropriate and unethical conduct, continues to be in a position to make critical decisions," said Jessica Jackson, National Director of #cut50 and Mayor of Mill Valley, California. "As an elected official myself, I'm very familiar with the importance of disclosures and the consequences associated with failing to abide by both the letter and spirit of disclosure laws. Transparency is the cornerstone of any good government. If an official or a judge cannot be trusted to be transparent and ethical, how can we possibly trust them with power over people's lives? We must hold our judges to the highest ethical standard to preserve trust and confidence in our criminal justice system."

Additionally, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts form requires judges to disclose when they own stock in or are officers or directors of private companies. Brinkley did not disclose that she owns and/or is a director of two private corporations and a registered business name. Those 28-corporate directorship and ownership-related omissions include:

  • Brinkley filed articles of incorporation with the Pennsylvania Department of State establishing Business Analysts and Consultants Inc. on 9/4/1990 with Brinkley as the sole identified shareholder. The corporation is still active, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State. Brinkley's annual "Statements of Financial Interest" going back to 2007 (the earliest available) do not disclose this business.
  • On 10/31/1995 – after ascending to the bench – Brinkley registered a fictitious name for a business called "Communications Analysts, International," according to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State, which identifies her as the "owner" of this still-active business. The business does "marketing of long distance telephone service, digital wireless phones, cellular phones, and beepers," according to Pennsylvania corporate filings. Brinkley's annual "Statements of Financial Interest" going back to 2007 (the earliest available) do not disclose this business.
  • Brinkley and her husband incorporated BonBri Enterprises Inc. as a private, for-profit corporation on 9/4/2001, according to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State, which identifies the corporation as "active." Brinkley reported that she was the secretary of this corporation in her 2007 and 2008 filings, but not in the forms for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016, despite the business's active status.

#cut50 and Color Of Change believe that Brinkley's failure to disclose these assets and this income is another example of her unprofessional conduct, which has recently extended to her behavior in Robert "Meek Mill" Williams' case. The two organizations have received more than 65,000 signatures on a petition calling on Judge Brinkley to step aside in Meek's case, stating that she is notorious for having "one of the highest rates of sending people to prison for probation violations."

"This new evidence of financial impropriety is further proof to support Judge Brinkley's questionable ethics," said Scott Roberts, Senior Criminal Justice Campaign Director of Color Of Change. "For judges, the power and discretion to make or break someone's life requires a higher level of accountability. We ask the supervising judge in the Court of Common Pleas to take action against Judge Brinkley immediately."

THE FACTS
In the last 15 years, Judge Brinkley and her husband, Renzo Bonetti have bought and sold eight properties in Philadelphia and rented out many of these properties to tenants, according to property records, landlord-tenant court case filings, and Philadelphia rental licenses. Judge Brinkley has also owned active for-profit businesses and served as an officer of a private corporation, according to Pennsylvania Secretary of State filings. Below is a list of Brinkley's disclosure failures identified to date:

  • 1950 Castor Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19124 (8 omissions) Brinkley's husband, Renzo Bonetti acquired this home on 9/11/2007 for $80,000 and sold it on 6/12/2017 for $96,000. Brinkley's name appeared with her husband's on the rental license issued by the Philadelphia Department of Licensing & Inspections. In October 2007, Brinkley's husband sued to evict the tenant (LT-07-10-18-5726). On 6/20/2014, Brinkley co-signed a mortgage with her husband to borrow $60,000 against this property, which remained open until 7/11/17. Brinkley identified a "Castor Ave" property as a source of income on her 2008 and 2009 forms, but did not disclose it on her forms covering 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016.
  • 1111 Wakeling Street, Philadelphia, PA 19124 (1 omission) Brinkley and husband purchased this property 5/21/04, for $233,550. Brinkley sold it for $265,000 on 5/17/11, according to City of Philadelphia property records. However, proceeds of the sale were not disclosed in 2012.
  • 5010 Penn Street, Philadelphia, PA 19124 (7 omissions) Brinkley and her husband purchased this building on 5/5/03 for $66,900 and are still the registered owners of the property. They have an active license to rent out the home, which has an apartment on each of its three floors. In 2012, Brinkley launched an eviction case against a tenant in this building by filing a 2012 Landlord Tenant Complaint (LT-12-08-01-3207). While Brinkley did disclose receiving rental income from this property on her 2007, 2008, and 2009 judicial financial forms, she did not disclose this property or income derived from it for the forms covering 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016.

About #cut50
#cut50 works to cut crime and incarceration in all 50 states by translating local needs into smart safety solutions. The organization brings together unlikely allies—formerly and currently incarcerated individuals, community members, crime survivors, local elected officials, and law enforcement--to keep communities safe and families together. #cut50 is leading a campaign to highlight the stories of 4.65 million Americans who are under probation or parole using the hashtag #StillNotFree. Visit cut50.org  

About Color Of Change
Color Of Change is the nation's largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over one million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org

Claire Totten
805-901-0447
ctotten@mercuryllc.com

 

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