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Posted by GET NY on 17:43:08 03/02/06


"I've got to get out."

February 28, 2006 -- EXCLUSIVE

A beloved former Brooklyn judge says he's a virtual prisoner in a Bronx nursing home where he has been confined by a court order for more than a year while his appointed guardian sells his assets.

The former judge, John Phillips, 82, wears a monitoring wristband and cannot leave or receive telephone calls at the East Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center but spoke to The Post via a tape recorder carried by a friend during a visit.

"It's lousy what they did to me," Phillips told The Post. "I've got to get out of here and get back to Brooklyn. They're stealing from me. I'm going to get my life back. I've got no business being here."

Phillips has been an involuntary guest at the home since December 2004. Court-appointed guardians have looked after his multimillion-dollar estate since 2002, when a judge ruled that he was not mentally competent.

All records in connection with his case have been sealed. But a lawyer retained by a niece of Phillips' said the judge is barred from leaving the facility by a court order.

"I still don't understand how the judge is at the nursing home," said the lawyer, Armani Scott. "But once he was put in, the court said he can't get out until they say so."

Scott said he's unaware of any specific treatment the ex-judge is getting at the home.

A nursing-home official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Post that Phillips did require monitoring and care but also said the situation would be better if the ex-judge lived with a relative.

Of particular concern to both Phillips and loved ones is what's happening to his estate, which includes at least 10 buildings and two theaters.

Earlier this month, a committee formed by friends of Phillips' filed a complaint with state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to look into the management of his finances by his court-appointed guardian, Emani Taylor.

Taylor did not return a call seeking comment.

Relatives plan to attend a Brooklyn Supreme Court hearing today in hopes of persuading Justice Michael Pesce to release Phillips and relieve Taylor.

Meanwhile, Phillips is outraged that his properties are being sold.

"They are stealing my theaters and everything," Phillips says on the tape. "I want to get out of here . . . I'm gonna tear their asses up when I get out."

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