Felix Arroyo and son strike back

Jack Encarnacao
Wednesday, March 01, 2017

A son of suspended Suffolk County Probate Register Felix D. Arroyo says his family is “under attack” from an unjust system, in a new fundraising email blasted out yesterday, the latest salvo in a public war with court overseers.

“My father and our community is under attack,” Ernesto “Eroc” Arroyo-Montano wrote in an email to supporters, which includes a link to donate money to Arroyo’s defense fund.

“We are under attack because a system that benefits from injustice will attack those who fight for equity and justice,” Arroyo- Montano said. “We need your support now more than ever.”

The email, which quotes Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King, Jr., accuses court administrator Harry Spence of “unjustly and unilaterally” suspending Arroyo in his third year of a six-year term heading the troubled probate court.

The court has said it found “serious deficiencies” in the way the probate and family court has been run under Arroyo that, “threaten the Court’s ability to serve the public and the bar.”

The Herald reported yesterday that Arroyo, a former city councilor, has launched a full-blown political campaign to publicly contest the suspension, enlisting former Gov. Deval Patrick’s top adviser Doug Rubin for strategic advice. Arroyo, who rakes in $139,789 in the probate post, took over a court that was already in disorder after his predecessor was forced out for slugging an employee, among other things. Arroyo-Montano could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Asked what Arroyo-Montano meant by a system that “benefits from injustice,” Arroyo’s campaign manager, Patrick Keaney, issued a previously released statement by Arroyo’s lawyer that says he, “inherited an office with a history of cronyism.”

“He ended this practice by filling vacancies with a qualified, diverse staff that added second-language capabilities,” reads the statement by Arroyo’s lawyer, Walter Prince. “His efforts were met with resistance and intentional sabotage by those who benefited from the practices of the past,” Prince said.

A spokeswoman for the Trial Court declined comment yesterday.

Arroyo continues to withhold the letter the court sent him that spells out the reasons for his suspension. He had previously slammed Spence for not releasing other documents Arroyo’s lawyer had requested.

But a court spokeswoman told the Herald Monday that all the materials Arroyo requested had been sent to his lawyer late last week.

Keaney, his campaign manager, said yesterday that Arroyo is still drafting a response to those court documents and will make it public soon.