They’re calling it a big fat Greek injustice.
A lawyer has asked for a judge’s recusal after the jurist allegedly called his clients “pig-headed Greeks” during settlement talks, according to new court papers.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager allegedly made the remark on Oct. 26, 2018, while mediating a case where Greek American real-estate honchos John Pappas and Peter Skeadas accused steakhouse magnate Alan Stillman of mismanaging their restaurant, Maloney and Porcelli.
The jury was dismissed for lunch and Ostrager asked to “see the lawyers in the robing room,” according to a transcript which cut off at that point.
Once inside Ostrager’s robing room, the judge allegedly told lawyer Michael Camarinos and his colleague, “you have a couple of old pigheaded Greek clients that don’t know what they are doing,” referring to their clients Pappas and Skeadas, Camarinos alleged in new court papers.
“My co-counsel and I are Greek-Americans … I was outraged on a personal level by this completely unnecessary and improper attack upon my clients and Greek-Americans,” Camarinos wrote in the court documents.
Camarinos didn’t report the alleged ethnic slur at the time, because the trial was ongoing and he didn’t want to jeopardize the case. That same day, the lawyer wrote down what he allegedly heard the judge say, according to a Google draft obtained by The Post.
Pappas and Skeadas lost their case and Stillman was awarded $450,000 plus interest, according to court records.
The pair is awaiting a decision on an appeal.
Stillman brought a suit in August asking Pappas and Skeadas to pay more than $2.4 million for his legal fees, claiming the restaurant contract he signed with the pair had an indemnification clause. Stillman also claimed the duo hasn’t made any payments on the judgment he was awarded in May.
Camarinos is seeking the recusal now, after the recent case was reassigned from a new judge back to Ostrager, last week.
“I am deeply troubled by Justice Ostrager’s wrongful statement which has major personal and ethnic connotations against my clients, which raises serious issues regarding the appearance of impartiality of this tribunal,” Camarinos wrote in the court documents.
“This statement demonstrates a pervasive ethnic and elderly prejudice harbored by the Judge,” Camarinos claimed in the court papers adding it’s “clearly personal.”
“An attorney made that claim against the judge which allegedly took place in his robing room off-the-record and that in and of itself is self-evident,” New York Courts spokesman Lucian Chalfen said.
By Julia Marsh and Priscilla DeGregoryJanuary – nypost.com