A disgraced former judge was taken from a courtroom in handcuffs and jailed Thursday after being arrested on a warrant because he has failed to pay more than $250,000 in child support.
The arrest warrant for the former Brooklyn judge, Reynold Mason, now of Hampton, Ga., was valid, Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Joan Lobis said.
"At this point I have no alternative but to direct that the order of arrest be executed," Lobis said.
Several people in court with Mason’s former wife, Tessa Abrams Mason, cheered when Lobis ordered sheriff’s deputies to jail Mason.
Abrams Mason said she was very surprised that her ex-husband had shown up.
Mason, a native of Grenada and reportedly the first Caribbean-born judge on the Brooklyn Civil Court, was elected in 1994. He was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1997. Soon afterward, he left his pregnant wife and their two children, Abrams Mason said, and she has been chasing him for child support since.
Abrams Mason, 47, said she married Mason, 57, in 1993. She said they separated in 1997 and divorced in 2004.
In 2003, Mason was kicked off the bench after the state Commission on Judicial Conduct found that the former landlord-tenant lawyer had improperly taken money from a client’s escrow account.
Abrams Mason and their children — a daughter, 16, and two sons, 14, and 9 — live off monthly workers’ compensation she gets after being injured on the job at Wal-Mart. Outside court, she showed an eviction notice she said she got Thursday.
Abrams Mason said she believes her ex-husband, now a real estate broker in Georgia, owes her about $267,000. She said she was surprised and disappointed that he went to court apparently with no intention of paying anything.
Her lawyer, Robert Z. Dobrish, said she had received child support payments totaling a few hundred dollars over the past couple of years.
Dobrish said Mason can spring himself from jail if he comes up with even a fraction of what he owes and a plan to pay the rest. He said Abrams Mason believes her ex-husband has hidden assets.
Mason’s lawyer, Homer Richardson, told the Manhattan judge his client had tried everything he could to raise some of the money he owes, including reaching out to friends and relatives for loans, but had failed.
Richardson said outside court later that his client, "a very depressed man," was arrested because he failed to follow up on his Jan. 5 application in a Brooklyn court requesting a reduction in $2,600 monthly child support payments.
SOURCE: Fulton County Daily Report