**The following letter was also sent to the Kings County District Attorney's Office against ALJ Michael A. Vass **
Mark Lacivita (Director of Administration)
Office of Administrative Hearings
NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA)
1 Commerce Plaza, 12th Fl., Ste 1200
Albany, NY 12260
March 3, 2012
Re: ALJ Michael A. Vass
Committed Assault and Menacing
(Fair Hearing No. 5890171Z)
Dear Mr. Lacivita,
I am reporting an act of assault and menacing that was committed upon me by ALJ Michael A. Vass at the fair hearing on March 6, 2012 located at 14 Boerum Place, Brooklyn, NY. I am the Guardian Ad Litem appointed to Ms. Yvette Tiencheu by Judge Arlene H. Hahn of the NYC.
Civil Court: Housing Part and I am also the representative for Ms. Tientcheu at the Fair Hearing numbered 5890171Z. See
Court Order appointing me as GAL for Ms. Tientcheu attached hereto.
On February 23, 2012, I appeared alone before ALJ Vass in my representation of Ms. Tientcheu. ALJ Vass had NO objections to my representation of Ms. Tientcheu and he adjourned the hearing to allow me to obtain an affidavit from Ms. Tientcheu's daughter to determine if she can provide Ms. Tientcheu additional assistance that would eliminate the need for Adult Protective Services.
On March 6, 2012, I appeared again at the hearing with Ms. Tientcheu. After Ms. Tientcheu and I waited for about one hour to meet with ALJ Vass, I noticed that Ms. Tientcheu was feeling very ill. She couldn't walk, she was leaning over while sitting down and she was groaning in pain. At that time, I feared for her health. I told her to go home and I would complete the hearing by submitting the documentary evidence I had that met the necessary burden of proof to win her
However, when ALJ Vass heard that I sent Ms. Tientcheu home, he flew into a rage. He began screaming at me at the top of his voice and using profanity. He called me a quote jerk unquote for sending Ms. Tientcheu home. And when I tried to explain to him that she was sick and that I have authority to conduct the hearing as her representative and to submit the documentary evidence, he said that her illness was quote bulls**t unquote (He never reviewed her medical records). And no matter how many times I told him to restrain himself and conduct himself professionally, he refused. At one point, he lunged at me with his hands flaring in the air while continuing to scream at me at the top of his voice. Fearing that he was about to hit me, I move back. His conduct constituted Menacing in the third degree pursuant to NY Penal Code 120.15 and it fell under the civil cause of action for assault. When ALJ Vass refused to stop using profanity toward me, I yelled at him to stop abusing me with profanity and he stopped. This was NOT the behavior of a professional Admin. Law Judge in a professional setting. It was the behavior of a crazed street thug attempting to intimidate and injure me into submission. It was outrageous behavior that crossed the realm of decency and it was criminal.
A GAL does have authority to represent their Wards before an Admin. Hearing.
Nolan ex rel. Gray v. New York City Human Resources Admin.
24 Misc.3rd 1233(A); 901 N.Y.S.2d 900 (Sup. N.Y. 2009)[Mr. Gray was appointed by a NYCHA hearing officer as guardian ad litemfor Ms. Nolan for the purpose of her NYCHA administrative hearing]. Nevertheless, in section 3 of the Notice for the Fair Hearing numbered 5890171Z, it states that the appellant or her representative may appear at the hearing. On the back of the notice, section 2 states You have a right to be represented by an attorney or other representative, to present documentary evidence, to bring witnesses, and to examine opposing witnesses and evidence. In most cases, your representative (other than an attorney) must have written authorization to represent you. In this present case, I not only appeared as Ms. Tientcheu Guardian Ad Litem; but I also appeared as her representative authorized under
the Admin. Rules and by Ms. Tientcheu written approval.
I was ready willing and able to present documentary evidence at the fair hearing that included a letter giving me the right to represent the appellant at the fair hearing, a Court Order holding the appellant incompetent to protect her legal rights and appointing me as her Guardian Ad Litem, medical reports showing that she needed assistance and a sworn affidavit of the appellant's daughter who stated that she was unable to assist her mother beyond the financial help she is providing her because she is burdened with her job, children and her lack of knowledge in dealing with City agencies and
procedures. However, ALJ Vass was so enraged by my decision to send Ms. Tientcheu home that he refused to allow me to proceed with the hearing and instead, he allegedly adjourned it for the purpose of forcing Ms. Tientcheu to appear and give her testimony. There was NO one in ALJ Vass's office who instructed him to act properly that witnessed the event. The office workers who witnessed the event encouraged his bad behavior. When I told ALJ Vass that I was going
to file a complaint against him, he said quote Who are you going to file the complaint with? The Judge? You're a joke.
The proper behavior of the ALJ was to conduct the fair hearing without Ms. Tientcheu and to allow me, as Ms. Tientcheu representative, to submit the documentary evidence. The ALJ would then evaluated the documentary evidence to determine whether the burden of proof was met (preponderance of the evidence). At which time, the ALJ would issue
his decision. However, ALJ Vass disregarded proper procedure and out of actual malice, he acted in an abusive, outrageous and illegal manner toward me that it shocked the mind.
At this time, I am filing a criminal complaint with the Kings County District Attorney's Office against ALJ Vass for the menacing. I am also contemplating whether to file a civil lawsuit against ALJ Vass and his employer for the assault upon me. See Charky v. Altman 252 A.D.2d 413; 678 N.Y.S.2d 40 (1st Dept., 1998). Furthermore, I am filing a complaint against him with an abuse reporting website searchable by ALJ Vass via any Internet browser to place innocent people on notice and to help protect them from any further outrageous and illegal behavior committed by ALJ Vass. No ALJ should be allowed to menace and assault anyone and then use their position to shield themselves from prosecution.
Therefore, I am respectfully requesting the assignment of a new hearing officer due to the existing conflict of interest created from the contemplated legal action against ALJ Vass and I am requesting the rescheduling of the fair hearing for Ms. Tientcheu. I am also requesting that your office secure and safeguard the March 6, 2012 video surveillance and audio evidence located at the Fair Hearing office at 14 Boerum Place, 5th Fl., Brooklyn, NY 11201. This evidence will be requested via a subpoena during the legal action against ALJ Vass. This includes the audio evidence taken within the office of ALJ Vass.