Bookstaver a Back-Stabber, Using the System for His Own Benefit
David Bookstaver should be more careful with his phone and his words. The long-time spokesperson for the state court system accidentally butt-dialed a reporter. In the four-minute voicemail that he inadvertently left, Bookstaver proceeded to discuss with at least two people how he barely shows up to work, but makes off with a $166,000 annual salary, adding he has a cushy, taxpayer-funded pension.
The court system had reported Bookstaver, who was hired in 1996, was working only two days per week and leaked this to the media. They claimed his spokesman duties had been taken away after a leadership change last year, but he was still making the big bucks. A reporter called Bookstaver to ask him a few questions, and during the interview, he lied about how he spent his weekdays, claiming, “I’m in a much less visible position; that doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything.” The truth only came out when he butt-dialed back, admitting the sources were right after all.
When told about the callback, Bookstaver had no choice but to come clean. “The story’s true. I’m not doing anything. I barely show up to work and I’ve been caught,” he said. He went on to add that he didn’t need to be there, anyway, “because they took away all my responsibilities and left my pay.” Bookstaver even went on to admit he deserved what had been said about him. “They left me alone and look, I have a big mouth. I told people I’m not doing much. I do take a lot of time off. I kind of asked for it,” he said. “You know, if you have a big mouth, you know it catches up with you.”
Bottom line, Bookstaver feels he has nothing to lose. Although he could get fired because of the story, he said it “would probably affect my pension check by $6 a month.” Laughing pompously, he added, “Look, the bottom line is, I’ll suffer through a terribly embarrassing story and then go get my f**king pension and retire.”
Bookstaver hasn’t worked a Friday in at least three years. Instead, he spends his weekends in a second home in upstate New York. “It’s outrageous that our membership is in its seventh year without a contract, and there are employees at [OCA] making in excess of $150,000 a year for no-show jobs,” Patrick Cullen, president of the Supreme Court Officers Association, said enraged.
Sources within the court system said Bookstaver likely kept his title and income as a favor to former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman. “It is not uncommon for one administration to do a favor for another,” one source said. Bookstaver was very close to Lippman, who even officiated Bookstaver’s wedding.
Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks backed up the decision to keep Bookstaver happy, saying that although he “no longer handles the day-to-day press inquiries, in his less publicly visible role as communications director, David’s experience and insight are no less valuable.”
Lippman wouldn’t admit to doing Bookstaver a favor, either. “David, I assume, was kept on because he did a good job,” Lippman said.