Dr. Leona Baumgartner, a University Lecturer who doubles as a New York City Health Commissioner, was accused Tuesday by a Brooklyn magistrate of "helping to wreck the whole judicial system."
A Visiting Lecturer in Maternal and Child Health, Dr. Baumgartner had publicly criticized a $50 fine, levied on a careless landlord by Magistrate Milton Solomon. As a result, she was summoned to court to face a possible contempt charge. The landlord concerned was fined when a faulty gas heater he owned caused the death of a tenant. Dr. Baumgartner, terming the fine "wholly inadequate," was advised by magistrate Solomon to "apply herself to her own duties."
After refusing either to participate in an open hearing on to sit in court to hear the magistrate's statement, Dr. Baumgartner excused herself, saying she had "an appointment."
"As far as I am concerned, the whole incident in close," Dr. Baumgartner said last night. Magistrate, Solomon said he would reserve his decision on the case.