Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tom Tew -- RIP


The legal community is mourning -- again -- this time over the loss of Tom Tew, a major figure in high-end South Florida commercial litigation for many many decades.

He will be missed.

Elusive butterfly Richard Brodsky passed on this remembrance:
I got to know Tom Tew best when he was appointed the Receiver of ESM Government Securities, Inc. in 1985. This was one of the biggest securities frauds in U.S. history. The "losers" in this scheme were cities and towns that had sent this little firm on East Broward Boulevard hundreds of millions of dollars, thinking they were getting a security interest in government securities held by ESM, and would be repaid when these "repos" matured. When the scheme collapsed, the total losses were over $400 million. That's because ESM had stolen that much money and had kept the thing going like a Ponzi scheme - pay the cities and counties with new money from other cities and counties.

I represented the accounting firm that had audited ESM and put out false financial statements that made the big hole on ESM's balance sheet disappear by simple "plug" assets. He "won" his assignment as receiver because he was able to maintain good relations with all sides, had a vision of how to get the most for the estate with the least amount of time and money spent, and got it done. He had a lot of help from great lawyers from his firm but there is no question that it was Tom who was the sine qua non.

Tom was a brilliant tactician and lawyer. He was also a gentleman. I never had occasion to question his word. We were not close. Indeed, I did not even know he was sick. I am sorry I did not have the chance to say "good bye." I was stunned when I heard he had passed away.
May he rest in peace.

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