A former Pennsylvania judge and current member of Alcoholics Anonymous, with an aversion to paying taxes, is doing his darnedest to stay out of the joint – he is using the classic AA “abuse excuse” to to do so. Michael “I’m A Serenity” Toole, was caught giving preferential treatment to a litigant in an insurance arbitration hearing, in exchange for free use of a beach house:
Prosecutors say Toole helped Cardoni in an insurance case that was going to arbitration. Each side picks one arbiter, with the judge picking a “neutral arbiter.” Cardoni testified today that when he deliberately scheduled the hearing for a time he knew Toole would be the judge, and that when he approached the courtroom, Toole’s Tipstaff came to him and asked “Who do you want?” Toole then appointed the person Cardoni recommended as the neutral arbiter.
The government says Cardoni then rewarded Toole by letting him use a beach house in New Jersey the lawyer owned as an investment property, renting it out to tenants on a weekly basis. Cardoni testified Toole got free use of the house three times, in 2005, 2006 and 2008, though prosecution and defense both agreed the 2005 use should not be considered in the sentencing because Toole revealed it, not Cardoni, after being charged.
Once he learned of a federal probe that might reveal his ill-gotten gains, Toole thought that he would cover his tracks by creating a fake paper trail:
Cardoni also testified that, in 2008, he began hearing about the federal corruption probe in the county and that he and Toole agreed they should create a “paper trail” to make it appear as though Toole were paying for the house. Cardoni said he estimated the rental value at $7,500 plus the $900 for the repair company, and that he gave that much to Toole in July 2008. After several failed attempts to get together, Cardoni said Toole met him in the parking lot of his office and that the judge gave him a check for $7,500 and a bank envelope containing $900 in cash. Continue reading A Lying Toole