AHEPA Denounces Anti-Greek Tirade by
Delaware County, Pa. Judge
Calls for Judge's Ouster Despite Apology
WASHINGTON, DC -- The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a
leading association for the nation's millions of American citizens of
Greek heritage and Philhellenes, denounces an anti-Greek tirade by Judge Michael F.X. Coll during a child-support case in July, and calls for his ouster, announced Supreme President John W. Galanis.
According to a court transcript cited in an NBC10 news report , the following exchange occurred between Judge Coll, Kostas "Gus" Hartas, and Hartas' attorney:
Coll asked Hartas, "Are you of Greek background sir?"
"Right, the Greeks never pay taxes," Coll said.
As Hartas' attorney objected, Coll then said, "That's why their country is in bankruptcy."
Hartas' attorney objected again but Coll continued his rant.
"So can I take judicial note of the fact that the Greeks are in bankruptcy as a nation and one of the reasons, the principal reason is because none of them ever pay taxes?" Coll asked.
"Your Honor, I object to lumping my client in with the entire country of Greece," the attorney replied.
According to Galanis, who is an attorney, it is upsetting to hear derogatory comments being made from officers of the court, individuals who are elected for fair and impartial approach to complex legal issues.
"Simply stated, Judge Coll's tirade is offensive and unacceptable," Galanis said. "To assert one individual's ability to pay child support is based on that individual's ethnic background demonstrates prejudice. Then to make a comparison, or an attempt to somehow link it to what has transpired in Greece with its people during an unprecedented economic crisis, which is unrelated to the individual in question, is downright disgraceful. Not only was Judge Coll's tirade anti-Greek; it was anti-American."
Galanis added, "Despite Judge Coll's apology, we call for his ouster. With such a significant Greek American presence in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, including three AHEPA chapters and three Greek Orthodox parishes, Judge Coll is unfit to sit on the bench."
He continued, "The American Hellenic community is one of the hardest-working and well-educated ethnic groups in the United States and is woven deeply into the fabric of America. AHEPA has served as a vital vehicle for the progressive development and emergence of American citizens of Greek heritage into every facet of society: government, business, education, and the arts. This fulfillment illustrates the promise of the American Dream and symbolizes the hard work ethic of our immigrant forbearers who labored to achieve that dream with the principles of Hellenism rooted deep in their hearts."
Executive Director Basil Mossaidis stated Judge Coll's tirade was especially troubling to him because Mossaidis was born and raised in Delaware County.
"Judge Coll's offensive remarks really do hit home, literally," he said. "The American Hellenic community is so vibrant, holds civic responsibility in such high regard, and gives back to the greater good, especially in Delaware County. As a public servant, Judge Coll should know this. I find his tirade very troubling."
As reported by NBC10 , Judge Coll's apology is the following: "My language does not accurately reflect my feelings about the Greek community. I regret the language I used during the hearing."