Thursday, March 5, 2015

So This Should Be a Boring Bar Trial.


Let's see, according to the Intrepid One, we have allegations of several office affairs, tampered texts, finger-pointing from the top, alleged trust fund improprieties, lots of well-known attorneys testifying, and general boorish behavior.

Oh wait -- and a healthy dash of saltpeter!

An episode of Scandal?

Well, sort of:
"This is a simple story," Mulligan said. "Jeremy Alters never had enough money to handle the kind of cases he was handling and the overhead. The shortages were never in dispute. All that is in dispute is who is responsible. And Jeremy Alters is responsible."

Even though Alters made Boldt managing partner for a period of time when he was traveling and later ill with an intestinal disease, Alters owned 51 percent of the company and was ultimately responsible, Mulligan said.

"He always had control of the firm," Mulligan said. "He was always in control of the finances … with unfettered access to the trust accounts. Ms. Boldt's control was limited."
Mulligan alleged 20 improper transfers were made from trust accounts between January and February 2010 totaling $1.1 million. The first one, he alleged, was for season tickets to the Miami Heat. The others were used to cover bank overdrafts and pay law firm costs as the firm faced a financial crisis and started laying off employees.

Alters definitely became aware of the problem at a meeting held with Boldt and Rogow, who was working on the bank fee case with Alters, on Feb. 9, 2010, Mulligan said. However, he never reported the trust fund irregularities as required by Bar rules, he said.

Alters also failed to notify the firm's other partners of the shortages, another violation of Bar rules, Mulligan said. They only found out when the Bar filed its original grievance against him, he said.

Alters also "falsified trust account records" in a meeting with the West Palm Beach law firm Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley in which Alters was seeking an investment, Mulligan alleged.

Miami attorney Andrew Berman, who represents Alters, painted a picture of Boldt as distracted and over her head as managing partner. It turned out that both she and her husband were having affairs, he said. And, despite the fact that Alters had obtained a promise of financing from the law firm Baron & Budd, she never turned to them despite her firm's dire straights.

Berman said he plans to call as witnesses a number of Alters' former paralegals and lawyers who will testify how Boldt ran the day-to-day operations while Alters was traveling, obtaining new cases and raising funds to save the firm.

"Her fingerprints are all over the transfers," Berman said.
After finding out about the shortages, Alters immediately set out to replenish the funds, taking out third-party loans. What he didn't find out until later, Berman said, was that Boldt was then withdrawing those funds for firm operations. Berman also noted that Alters took and passed three lie detector tests.

He's also questioning the legitimacy of text messages that the Bar recently subpoenaed from Alters' former chief financial officer, Marc Saltpeter, a Bar witness, alleging they were tampered with. Alters fired Saltpeter, his brother-in-law, shortly after learning he was having an affair, Berman said.

The Bar plans to call 34 witnesses, including Alters, Saltpeter, Boldt, Rogow, six partners from Searcy Denney including Christian Searcy, Alters' former partners David Rash, Thomas Culmo and Robert Baldwin Brown, Alters' banker and accountant, and a forensic computer expert, among others.

Berman said he plans to call Alters, his former lawyers Justin Grosz and Matthew Moore, Scott Schlesinger from the Schlesinger Law Offices, Rogow and a forensic computer expert. Alters had entered into a financial partnership with Schlesinger related to the bank overdraft case.
So yep -- pretty boring.

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