NY STATE JUDGE’S WIFE ILLEGALLY USED HUSBAND’S POLICE PARKING PLACARD FOR WEEKS WITHOUT GETTING TICKETS OR PAYING METER FEES

	BOE employee Ellen Raffaele, whose husband is Judge Thomas Raffaele, uses her police parking placard to park near her job located at 126-06 Queens Boulevard in Queens on Wednesday, June 19, 2013.

NY state judge’s wife uses his parking placard to flout laws, meter fees

Ellen Raffaele, a mid-level Queens Board of Elections employee with deep ties to the borough’s Democratic machine, is improperly using the official parking placard issued to her husband, Queens Supreme Court Justice Thomas Raffaele. And that infuriates people desperately seeking parking in the busy municipal district near the main Queens courthouse, borough hall and other city offices.

By / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS


	BOE employee Ellen Raffaele, whose husband is Judge Thomas Raffaele, uses her police parking placard to park near her job located at 126-06 Queens Boulevard in Queens on Wednesday, June 19, 2013.

Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News

Queens Board of Elections employee Ellen Raffaele, wife of Queens Supreme Court Judge Thomas Raffaele, is seen Wednesday using her husband’s police parking placard to park near her job located at 126-06 Queens Boulevard in Queens. With the placard, she never needs to feed the meter or move her car, even on alternate-side parking days.

 

For weeks, a green Honda Accord has been parked nearly every day on Queens Blvd. near 83rd Ave. in Kew Gardens in Queens, N.Y., neighbors say, but its driver never feeds the meter.

She never moves for alternate-side parking. And she never seems to get a ticket.

That’s because Ellen Raffaele — a mid-level Queens Board of Elections employee with deep ties to the borough’s Democratic machine — is improperly using the official parking placard issued to her husband, a judge.

This is the parking placard of Queens Supreme Court Judge Thomas Raffaele, husband to Queens Board of Elections employee Ellen Raffaele, who uses it to park her car close to her job in Kew Gardens.

Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News

This is the parking placard of Queens Supreme Court Judge Thomas Raffaele, husband to Queens Board of Elections employee Ellen Raffaele, who uses it to park her car close to her job in Kew Gardens.

Queens Supreme Court Justice Thomas Raffaele is entitled to a state-issued parking placard as a sitting jurist — but only if he’s using the car for official court business.

Letting his wife use the placard — which says “POLICE” beside the seal of the State of New York’s judicial branch — is a blatant abuse of the perk and one that infuriated people desperately seeking parking in the busy municipal district near the main Queens courthouse, borough hall and other city offices.

“Her husband’s a judge? … That pissed me off,” said Maria Reyes, 43, who told of being half an hour late to a lunch meeting last week because she couldn’t find parking in the area. “How are you going to work in law and then be sneaky to beat the system?”

A  ticket agent gives this green Honda Accord, parked in Kew Gardens in Queens, N.Y., a free pass. That's because driver Ellen Raffaele uses the parking placard issued to her husband, Queens Supreme Court Judge Thomas Raffael, to park her car close to work, meter fees and alternate-side parking rules be darned.

Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News

A  ticket agent gives this green Honda Accord, parked in Kew Gardens in Queens, N.Y., a free pass. That’s because driver Ellen Raffaele uses the parking placard issued to her husband, Queens Supreme Court Judge Thomas Raffael, to park her car close to work, meter fees and alternate-side parking rules be darned.

The Daily News saw Ellen Raffaele’s car parked for seven straight hours one day last week outside her Board of Elections office — a mile away from the Sutphin Blvd. courthouse where Judge Raffaele works in Jamaica.

Though the street has a one-hour parking limit, she never moved the vehicle and never fed the $1-per-hour meter. When her side of the street needed to be vacated for street cleaning between 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., she didn’t budge.

The parking agent who slapped $45 tickets on two other cars that failed to move for alternate-side parking said she didn’t ticket Raffaele because of the permit posted on her dashboard.

Street signs spell out the parking rules on this patch of Queens Blvd. near 83rd Ave. in Kew Gardens in Queens, N.Y. But Board of Elections employee Ellen Raffaele doesn't have to follow those rules, since she uses a parking placard owned by her husband, Queens Supreme Court  Judge Thomas Raffaele.

Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News

Street signs spell out the parking rules on this patch of Queens Blvd. near 83rd Ave. in Kew Gardens in Queens, N.Y. But Board of Elections employee Ellen Raffaele doesn’t have to follow those rules, since she uses a parking placard owned by her husband, Queens Supreme Court  Judge Thomas Raffaele.

“If they have a police placard, we pretty much just leave them alone,” the agent said.

After watching Raffaele flout the law for an entire day last week, The News confronted her when she arrived for work the next day, again parking at the metered space just steps from her office. The one-time City Council candidate insisted she was just using her husband’s placard while she waited for him to arrive.

When asked how often she used the placard to park there, she said, “Sometimes. Not every day.”

In a later interview, her husband — who made headlines last year after accusing an NYPD officer of karate-chopping him in the throat — insisted his wife had only done it for “a couple of days.”

Justice Raffaele could face discipline from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which investigates placard abuse. The Office of Court Administration is charged with doling out placards, and is the only agency that can take them away.

jfermino@nydailynews.com

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/judge-wife-flouts-parking-rules-placard-article-1.1380591#ixzz2X7WhhMOW

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