Friday, February 12, 2010

Lawyers (Allegedly) Behaving Badly.


I'm still on a high from last night's Bar thingy, so I'm reluctant to wade into these stories, but they are pretty extraordinary.

First, this blockbuster Julie Kay piece (she's the best, right?) involving Fowler White's Lilly Ann Sanchez:
The suit concerns Sanchez’s representation of Rivero, who pleaded guilty in 2008 to misusing $700,000 out of $3 million he was paid by the Miami-Dade Housing Agency to build affordable housing for senior citizens. Rivero admitted diverting public money to build himself a dream house in South Miami and was sentenced to more than a year in prison. He was recently released.

The primary allegation in the civil suit is that Sanchez and her law firm aided Rivero in a scheme to switch copies of a property deed, one that was witnessed and one that was invalid because it was not witnessed. The in-laws claim Rivero promised the deed in exchange for $1 million, but they received the worthless version.

Among the more explosive charges alluded to in the suit are that Sanchez had an affair with Rivero when he was married and he was paying her personal bills, which was “inappropriate to the attorney-client relationship.” Hall represented Rivero’s ex-wife in their divorce.
Roberto says it's all H.R. Pufncrap:
The law firm and Sanchez “acted professionally in full compliance with their ethical and legal obligations. It is unfortunate that a lawyer with a long-standing impeccable reputation must now litigate what has already been admitted by Mr. Aleman under oath in deposition testimony in the other cases: that Fowler White Burnett and Ms. Sanchez were never involved in the preparation of any improper deed or transaction.”
Oh well, that's what they have courts (arbitrators?) for I guess.

Then we have Big Stu, who according to this pleading had a rather unorthodox compensation plan at RRA:

26. The payments made to Rosenfeldt for salary, bonus or other distributions are collectively referred to below as the “Compensation Payments.” The Trustee challenges the reasonableness of these Compensation Payments for each of these years, based upon various factors related to the operation and profitability of law firms and attorney compensation structure. The amounts challenged as being overpayments of compensation for the 4-year period subject to this lawsuit were unreasonable and improper.

27. The fact that significant amounts of alleged bonus or other payments to Rosenfeldt are not related to actual earned compensation ties to the timing of when Rosenfeldt received certain of such payments, and how he thereafter paid out similar amounts of money as political contributions. For example, and demonstrating it was part of a scheme to funnel cash out of RRA to use for political contributions and not to pay legitimate earned income, on May 19, 2008, Rosenfeldt, Russell Adler (“Adler”) and Steven Lippman (“Lippman”) each received an alleged bonus of $140,000 from RRA. On May 28, 2008 Rosenfeldt made a donation of $140,000 to the John McCain presidential campaign. Also on May 28, 2008, Lippman and his wife Marcy, made payments to the same campaign of $65,000 and $60,000 respectively. On June 12, 2008, Adler contributed $80,000 to the McCain campaign and his wife Katie likewise contributed $39,200. Thereafter, and through the balance of 2008 and much of 2009, Rosenfeldt, Adler and Lippman each received periodic alleged compensation payments from RRA and they (and/or their wives) then made a series of political contributions that trace close to receipt of the monies (which was received both before and after the contributions) with similar, if not identical payments then being made to the same candidates or political parties, including the McCain campaign, the Florida Republican Party, the Ohio Republican Party, the Pennsylvania Republican Party, the Missouri Republican Party, the Michigan Republican Party and Governor Charlie Crist. The bonus or other compensation payments that were used to pay for political contributions provided no consideration to RRA and thus, RRA received less than a reasonably equivalent value in exchange for these payments.

28. The second set of payments the Trustee seeks to recover includes reimbursements for personal expenses that improperly benefited both Rosenfeldt and Suzanne Rosenfeldt. During the years 2006 through 2009, on a monthly basis, Rosenfeldt had unfettered personal use of the RRA American Express card. During this time, for his and his wife’s benefit, Rosenfeldt improperly charged to RRA over $1 million in purely personal expenses, including $439,337.45 just from December 3, 2008 through June 18, 2009. Examples of Rosenfeldt’s personal expenses paid by RRA that personally benefitted Rosenfeldt and Suzanne Rosenfeldt include: 72 pieces of jewelry purchased from J.R. Dunn Jewelers, numerous local hotel room charges, furniture for their home, vacations and personal travel, exotic reptiles, home repairs, athletic club charges, men’s and women’s clothing, groceries, charitable contributions, personal meals, general household items and other items (“Personal Expense Payments”). RRA received less than reasonably equivalent value in exchange for these expense reimbursements.

29. The third set of payments the Trustee seeks to recover includes reimbursements for payments made by RRA to Rosenfeldt which were classified in RRA’s financial records as “loans” and are referred to below as the “Rosenfeldt Loans.” These payments were reflected by numerous checks written by RRA to Rosenfeldt from the RRA operating account, often in random dollar amounts. The loan checks were sometimes issued on the same day with a loan check in numbered sequence to another RRA partner, Steven Lippman (“Lippman”). Typically, Rosenfeldt would deposit each check into his personal bank account, then shortly after the deposit by Rosenfeldt of the RRA check, he would write a check out that personal account payable to RRA in an amount less than the check RRA had given him. The Rosenfeldt Loans totaled $8,960,310.75.

30. In some instances, after Rosenfeldt received a check from RRA, and rather than repaying RRA, he wrote the return check to third parties including: (a) at least one check to Kendall Sports Bar on June 19, 2006 in the amount of $61,500, (b) numerous checks to Russell Adler in amounts of $1000 to $5000 referencing “loan.”
Exotic reptiles?


Putting aside questions of knowledge etc, what kind of farcockta law firm operates like this?

There's not enough Xanax in South Florida for me to be able to deal with these kinds of crazy allegations.


Stu's Beard said...

Double down on the xanax Stewey baby!!

The Straw Buyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

There is no good to come when a Receiver starts looking into:

"numerous local hotel room charges".

On a personal note, I have always found that splaining away out of town hotel room charges lemon squeezy. locals, not so much.

Anonymous said...

local hotel stays, I thought that was Rothstein's MO.

Love dat kimster said...

Aye que linda! Lilly's a hottie!!!

on the shumie fence said...

I am against Shumie time as a matter of principle. But I personally like Shumie. He has a certain je ne sais quoi? Se bon!

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