BAY RIDGE — For Marion Santo, getting the chance to have lunch with one of her favorite television personalities was the dream of a lifetime. And it all happened because someone else was unable to attend.
On Tuesday, Oct. 8, the Liberty Kiwanis Club held its annual golf outing at Dyker Beach Golf Club and one of the grand prizes at the dinner auction was a private lunch with Judge Patricia DiMango of the popular CBS series “Hot Bench.” The winners were Katie and Maureen Eiwanger who planned to attend the luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 21 at Peppino’s restaurant in Bay Ridge.
DiMango said that she was happy to get involved with the Kiwanis Club because of its Vice President Penney Santo. “Penney has been involved in so many civic organizations and so may charitable events and she worked with my mother Mafalda for so many years,” she said.
DiMango’s late mother was a civic leader who served for decades on Community School Board 20, Community Board 11 in Bensonhurst and the Bay Ridge Community Council, and recently had a street named in her memory outside P.S. 204 in Bensonhurst.
“My mother loved Penney and was always so grateful for the things that she was doing for the Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights communities so I wanted to continue to help as best I can,” explained DiMango.
DiMango said that her television show came about after an unexpected phone call from Judge Judy Sheindlin, “Whom I had never met nor spoken to. She said she was putting together a new show and it was a three judge bench and she was looking for a New York Supreme Court judge. She said, ‘I’m looking for someone like me but younger, and I got you,’” added DiMango.
DiMango served 19 years on the New York bench, 14 in the Supreme Court, and has been on “Hot Bench” for six years. Penney Santo reached out to DiMango and asked if it would be okay to raffle lunch with her off for a good cause and DiMango agreed.
Unfortunately, the Eiwangers were unable to make the date and instead passed the invitation on to Marion Santo, a devoted fan of DiMango and her TV show.
Marion, who happens to be Penney’s mother-in-law, was thrilled to fill in for the Eiwangers at the luncheon, which she attended with Penney, Penney’s daughter Alexandra and Christine Oliveri.
Marion Santo said that she learns a lot from watching “Hot Bench” and prefers it to other, less informative shows. “I love her personality and her looks. She’s just very sharp and she’s just beautiful in my eyes,” she said. “I watch her show every single day.”