Former mayoral candidate Karen Brown appeared on a "Judge Judy" episode Monday after being sued for $825 in unpaid campaign services by her former accountant of a week, Stuart London, who admitted on the show that he is not an accountant, at all.
"He’s looking for his place in the world and he called 'Judge Judy,' 'Judge Joe Brown,' 'Judge Karen' – I didn’t even know TV judges existed because I’d never seen any of the shows," Brown said yesterday.
The television judge, whose real name is Judith Sheindlin, was harsh with both London and Brown, telling the former that he misrepresented himself by offering his services as an accountant when his experience was in sports writing and working as a lot manager for the Philadelphia Parking Authority. She told Brown that she should have vetted London more thoroughly.
Brown said that she ultimately appeared on the show because they paid her travel expenses and the $198 judgment against her. "I kept refusing and then Judge Judy offered to pay for everything, including a mini vacation," she said of her trip to Los Angeles.
"Then I found out that, in her court, everything was binding and he couldn’t sue me again, so I said, 'Why not get it over with?' ... It would’ve been public either way. I was losing nothing and gaining everything."
Brown has no regrets, she said, but hoped that people didn't place too much importance on the cameo. "I am, right now, in the process of feeling out where I’m going to be. I will find a way to get elected and actually help the people of this city," she said. "I have to thank that people are still interested because, when I run again, they'll still remember me – but hopefully for my campaign, not for Judge Judy."
Philly GOP more than TV drama?
At least one established Philadelphia Republican, City Commissioner Al Schmidt, declined to comment on the 'Judge Judy' appearance, saying that he had not seen the episode. But he did weigh in on the state of the city's Republican Party.
"I think we’ve had some pretty encouraging developments in the city," he said. "It may be a generational shift, or it might be much more than that."
John Featherman, Brown's former opponent in the mayoral primaries and current Republican City Committee-endorsed candidate for the 1st District congressional seat, had plenty to say about the episode. "It doesn’t matter what kind of incidentals they pay you, when you voluntarily make the decision you're going to be trivialized by appearing on a tabloid reality TV show, your brand is really cheapened," he said.
"I think she turned off many of her supporters by doing that show. ... The fact that she decided to turn it into a circus shows her credibility – or lack thereof."
Our favorite outtakes
Judge Judy: How long did you work for Miss Brown?
London: I worked for her, approximately, as far as I know–
Judy: No, as far as you know–
Judy: How long did you work for her?
London: I worked for nine days, apparently.
Judge Judy: So you were charging her, according to what you have in your complaint, $75 an hour.
London: Yes, ma’am.
Judy: That’s quite a raise, Mr. London.
London: Obviously, it’s different kind of work, your honor.
Judy: No, it’s obviously quite a raise.
London: It is the rate, uh, I told her very clearly what my fee was.
Judy: You have no experience. You’re not an accountant.
Judge Judy: Now, is that what you agreed to pay him?
Brown: He never specified an amount. He just said he was gonna get paid for his services with everyone else in my campaign was voluntary. I said, "I will pay you a fair amount when you produce the reports."
Judy: I’ve never heard of anything so ridiculous in my life, "I'll pay you a fair amount?" Who’s to determine what’s fair?
Brown: I had no proof that he had done any accounting work.
Judy: Then what did you hire him for?
Brown: Because I needed an accountant and someone had told me that he–
Judy: So why didn’t you go out in the street and yell, “Anybody wanna be my accountant?” I mean, that has about as much validity as hiring him–