Petition: Why N​.​Y. Must Remove Supreme Court Judge Margaret McGowan From Bench

Dr. Cholakian
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Dr. Cholakian. Her husband broke her arm but Judge McGowan gave him an order of protection against her. 

In New York State the Governor, the legislative body in Albany, and the Commission on Judicial Conduct can remove judges from the bench. One of the many judges that deserves to be tossed is Margaret Parisi McGowan of State Supreme Court in Queens county.

When parties appear before McGowan, she apparently chooses a side she’s partial toward and then consistently rules in favor of that side through the proceedings, regardless of the evidence. Is quid pro quo involved? The authorities must investigate.

Below is a summary of three cases where McGowan, acting like a tyrant, has made some of the most egregious rulings from the bench. After a series of articles in Black Star News exposing her misconduct, McGowan recused herself from two of the cases. These cases, conveniently, ended up with another judge in State Supreme Court in Queens, William Viscovich, who’s close to McGowan. 

Viscovich has continued the egregious rulings, allowing McGowan’s abuses to continue. 

Judge McGowan. Photo: Copyright Rick Kopstein/ALM Media Properties. 

How bad is McGowan? In one episode, after she’d already recused herself from the case, she made another ruling detrimental to the party she was biased against. When Black Star News informed then Governor Cuomo’s office and State Attorney General Letitia James’ office about this abuse of power, McGowan “vacated” the ruling she’d not been authorized to make in the first place. 

Even after the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct was informed of Judge McGowan’s egregious conduct, the Commission took no action and she continues to victimize New Yorkers. 

If anyone reading this petition has been the victim of abuse of power by Judge McGowan and other judges in New York State Supreme Court please contact Black Star News via mallimadi@gmail.com and cc milton@blackstarnews.com 

More importantly, sign this petition calling for the removal of Judge McGowan from the bench and forward it to others.

Here are the summaries: 

Case 1. Leeds v Cholakian.

In this case, a federal immigration judge, Frederic Leeds, sued his wife, Dr. Siranush Cholakian, for a divorce on Jan. 30, 2018.  During the course of the matrimonial proceeding, the then assigned justice, Margaret McGowan, consistently ruled in favor of a fellow judge, Mr. Leeds.

Prior to the divorce action, Judge Leeds broke his wife’s arm in a domestic dispute in the presence of the minor children. Yet, Judge McGowan ordered Dr. Cholakian’s then lawyer, Max Di Fabio, to advise his client to drop criminal charges against Judge Leeds. Mr. Di Fabio was so alarmed that he warned Dr. Cholakian that Judge McGowan was biased against her. He even memorialized his advice in writing which both he and Dr. Cholakian signed.

Mr. Di Fabio was intimidated by Judge McGowan to such an extent that he advised Dr. Cholakian to sign a settlement agreement in which she gave sole legal custody to Judge Leeds.  Judge McGowan also issued a stay-away order of protection against Dr. Cholakian for five years without holding a hearing and even though Dr. Cholakian was the one whose arm was broken. 

How biased was Judge McGowan? Judge McGowan in the early stages of the case, on June 28, 2018, ordered a neuropsychological evaluation to determine if Judge Leeds was fit to have overnight visits with the couple’s twin girls then aged six. Yet, even before the evaluation occurred, McGowan granted overnight visits for fellow judge, Leeds. Afterwards, on Sept. 7, 2018, Dr. David Layman, after examining Judge Leeds wrote, “The examinee will profit from cognitive-behavioral therapy that should help him increase his awareness and management of frustrations, anxieties, upsets, anger…” 

Did Judge McGowan reverse herself in order to protect the children and withdraw overnight visits? She did not, and over three years later, Judge Leeds has yet to undergo therapy. 

Following a series of articles in Black Star News, Judge McGowan finally recused herself from Leeds v Cholakian. Implicitly confirming Mr. Di Fabio’s and Dr. Cholakian’s allegations of bias, Judge McGowan made another ruling against Dr. Cholakian even though she’d already recused herself. After Black Star News notified then Gov. Cuomo’s and Attorney General James’ office and published a story, Judge McGowan “vacated” her unlawful  action

Leeds v. Cholakian is now before Judge William Viscovich. He has ostensibly covered for Judge McGowan and has even exceeded her abuses. 

When he first got the case, this reporter attended the sessions via Zoom. Judge Viscovich claimed that he would treat the case as if he was starting from scratch and give both sides a chance. He agreed to have Dr. Cholakian call Di Fabio to testify about the coercion and bias by Judge McGowan. In another court session Judge  Viscovich said he’d discussed the case with Judge McGowan. 

Suddenly, Judge Viscovich reversed himself and ruled that Mr. Di Fabio would no longer be permitted to testify. Judge Viscovich also denied Dr. Cholakian’s motion to reargue a prior order of Judge McGowan which denied Dr. Cholakian’s motion to vacate the the custody settlement upon the ground that Dr. Cholakian had been coerced into signing it and giving sole legal custody to Judge Leeds—who has not yet gone for anger management therapy—in addition to the order of protection. 

One of Judge Leeds’ first actions after the settlement agreement was to remove the children—who are ethnic Armenians—from a private Armenian school and place them in a crowded public school. Recently, one of the children—soon to be ten—recorded a message to their father, demanding that they be returned to the Armenian school. She also used the f-word in the message. 

As a result of the child’s angry message to Mr. Leeds, Judge Viscovich on Nov. 3, held an emergency conference where the attorney for the children, Terrence Worms, and Judge Leeds’ attorney, Neveen Nesheiwait, accused Dr. Cholakian of coaching the child into recording the phone video and sending it to her father. Dr. Cholakian, who appeared without counsel, denied the allegations. Nonetheless, without holding a hearing and without any testimony under oath, Judge Viscovich summarily stripped Dr. Cholakian of her 50/50 that has been in place for the past two years.

Judge Viscovich also ordered that Dr. Cholakian’s time with her children be supervised.

Judge McGowan must be smiling. 

Case 2. Mahadeo v. Mahadeo.

Dr. Robby Mahadeo. Stripped of parental rights through false "peanuts" allegation.

In Mahadeo v. Mahadeo, Mrs. Mahadeo sued in State Supreme Court, Queens County for a divorce from her husband, Dr. Robby Mahadeo, in January 2015. 

The couple had joint custody of the three minor children of the marriage until the case landed before Judge Margaret McGowan. During the first appearance, Dr. Mahadeo’s wife and the attorney for the children, Rayaaz N. Khan, falsely accused him of feeding peanuts to the youngest child knowing that that she would suffer an allergic reaction. 

Without holding a hearing, Judge McGowan summarily stripped Dr. Mahadeo of his parental rights to his three children. Doctors who treated the child wrote letters attesting that her illness had been unrelated to peanuts.  Moreover, Dr. Mahadeo demanded a hearing  on the peanuts allegations and lined up physicians to testify on his behalf.  However,  Judge McGowan refused to reverse herself —and said "all doctors are liars” according to Dr. Mahadeo. As a result, Dr. Mahadeo hasn't seen two of his children since December 2017 and he has limited hours with the youngest child, the same one he’d allegedly fed peanuts.

On one occasion, Judge McGowan threatened to throw Dr. Mahadeo in jail if he didn't walk to a nearby Chase Bank and return with $20,000 to pay AFC Khan's legal fees, which Dr. Mahadeo says are grossly inflated and not backed by invoices. Additionally, McGowan ordered Dr. Mahadeo to pay $75,000 legal fees to Alyssa Eisner, his wife’s attorney.

Judge McGowan held a trial on the validity of a prenuptial agreement between the Mahadeos. Following a hearing, she upheld the prenup’s validity.  However, Judge McGowan vacated her decision. She claimed a "confidential informant” told her Dr. Mahadeo had bribed one of the witnesses who'd testified on his behalf. Later, Dr. Mahadeo discovered that this “confidential informant” was none other than his own son who was then 12 and had been coached by the mother and AFC Khan, who met with prosecutors in the Queens DA’s office. Even more shocking, Dr. Mahadeo discovered that Judge McGowan herself had testified before a grand jury in a futile attempt to get him criminally indicted. 

Having testified before the grand jury against Dr. Mahadeo, Judge McGowan could no longer be fair and impartial on the matrimonial case and should have recused herself immediately.  However, Judge McGowan blithely continued "presiding" over the Mahadeos’ case—as if she was impartial—and made several adverse rulings against Dr. Mahadeo. 

Since no indictment was returned, McGowan had no choice but to confirm the validity of the prenuptial agreement.  The prenup , precludes Dr. Mahadeo from paying his wife’s legal fees.  Her attorney seeks  $75,000 in fees from Dr. Mahadeo.

There was a third bite at the apple. 

According to Dr. Mahadeo, AFC Khan told Judge McGowan that he'd been unaware that he could have testified during the trial to determine the prenup’s validity. Instead of sanctioning AFC Khan for admitted malpractice, Judge McGowan again reversed herself and  ruled that another trial be held to determine the validity of the agreement.

Black Star News had published several articles about Dr. Mahadeo's case. Judge McGowan ultimately recused herself. 

Dr. Mahadeo fell from the frying pan into the flames. The case is now before Judge Viscovich.  

Dr. Mahadeo still only has limited visitation with the youngest child. Judge Viscovich refused to enforce therapeutic sessions with the older children based on claims by AFC Khan that it would be harmful to them. 

In the interest of justice, you’d think Judge Viscovich would first hold a trial to determine the truthfulness of the peanuts allegations, which was the reason why Dr. Mahadeo was stripped of parental rights. He has no plans to try those claims but has instead scheduled for next May a trial to determine the validity of the prenup agreement. 

Judge Viscovich assigned a court-appointed counsel for Mahadeo’s wife but she fired the lawyer and brought back her previously retained attorney. Even though the prenup agreement precludes Dr. Mahadeo from paying his wife’s legal fees, Judge Viscovich ignored it —just as McGowan did—and ordered him to pay Eisner $75,000.

Judge Viscovich threatened Dr. Mahadeo with jail time for contempt if he didn't pay within 30 days from when the order was entered, on Oct. 7, 2021.

Judge McGowan must be smiling. 

Case 3. Bourianov v. Bourianova.