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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ed Fagan, Soon-to-Be Disbarred Attorney, Sues the NYC BOE, UFT, Everyone Else, on Behalf of Staffers in the "Rubber Rooms"


From Betsy Combier:

I have been receiving insulting attacks and threats from many people who think that I am making up the story of "Con Man and Snake Oil Salesman" Ed Fagan - who, by the way, tried to file a subpoena against me at UFT headquarters on wednesday,February 20 at 5PM, but the startled General Counsel would not accept it. Temporarily re-assigned teacher Florian Lewenstein then barged into the Brooklyn home of elderly holocaust victim Gizella Weisshaus at about 9PM that evening, upsetting her very much, and served her with a subpoena to appear in "March 2008" in his non-existent office at 5 Penn Plaza, 23rd floor (I asked someone to check this out, and the custodian verified that there are no offices there), and bring with her all of her documents. Gizella immediately faxed me her subpoena, and I called Mr. Jeffrey Plaza on friday February 22, 2008, who could not believe that a subpoena had been served in the case Ed Fagan filed against him in 2007. Jeffrey Plaza was an Attorney hired by Elizabeth Silver-Fagan's partner Margaret "Margie" Rogers' grandfather, David Jaffe and her mom, Mindy Rogers, when Ed Fagan and Elizabeth sued Margie. This case was dismissed, and then Ed Fagan sued Mr. Plaza.

Gizella and I have a mutual friend, Mr. Milton Allimadi of Black Star News. His article dated January 30th 2008 follows:

Says Disbar Holocaust Attorney
By Milton Allimadi
January 30th, 2008

Following a complaint for misappropriating money from escrow accounts, a Special Ethics Master in New Jersey has recommended the disbarment of Edward Fagan, the attorney who became famous when he filed the Swiss banks case on behalf of Holocaust survivors in 1996.

The Black Star exclusively reported the investigation of Fagan on January 25, 2005.

After the Swiss banks case was settled for $1.25 billion in 1998, Fagan gained global notoriety. He even discussed representing African American organizations working on legal action against the US government for Slavery reparations and groups in South Africa seeking action against foreign banks that helped sustain apartheid regimes.

In recent years, Fagan’s reputation has gone into a freefall. For years the first client he represented on the Swiss banks case, Holocaust survivor Gizella Weisshaus, 78, had alleged that Fagan stole money from the escrow account of her dead cousin Jack Oestreicher.

Fagan was later accused of misappropriating some of the $500,000 settlement money he had secured from the Swiss banks on behalf of another one of his elderly clients, Estelle Sapir, another elderly Holocaust survivor. He continued spending the money from an account he controlled even after Sapir died, it was alleged.

Fagan was accused of misappropriating a total of $122, 582; from the Oestreicher account and from Sapir. He was also accused of improperly disbursing $303,582 from Sapir, by the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics.

Fagan “knowingly misappropriated $40,000” from Oestreicher’s New York Estate, on March 27, 1996 and “misappropriated $82,582 of the Sapir Settlement funds that he maintained in his New Jersey Summit Bank account on August 19, 1998,” read the complaint from the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics.

In the 2005 article, The Black Star reported that it was only after his client Sapir had died that out of the $500,00 he secured on her behalf that Fagan sent some money to her family to cover funeral cost---$7,300.

In his defense in the New Jersey ethics case Fagan argued that he had oral agreement to “borrow” the funds, separately, from his clients, Weisshaus and Sapir. Hearings on the matter were conducted between November 15, 2005 and April 19, 2007.

In his January 24, 2008 recommendation Special Ethics Master, Arthur Minuskin, concluded that Fagan had “lied by claiming he had unlimited authority to use the $82,582 given to him” by Gizella Weisshaus from the Oestreicher estate and that Fagan “lied by claiming he had unlimited authority to use the Sapir settlement funds; he also improperly disbursed $305, 582 of those funds.”

Weisshaus said she welcomed the news. “He should have been disbarred before he started the Swiss case because he stole my cousin’s escrow account before hand and I didn’t know,” she said, in an interview with The Black Star.

The recommendation will be forwarded to a Disciplinary Review Board which will then send its decision to State Supreme Court in New Jersey for final ruling. The process could be concluded by the end of the year, says John McGill, III, Deputy Ethics Counsel Office of Attorney Ethics.

The article below was posted on the blog "Expose Corrupt Courts". At the exact time that this article was published in the New Jersey Star Ledger, I heard that a lawsuit on behalf of the ed staffers of NYC 'rubber rooms' had been filed in Federal Court. I was shocked to hear that the ed staffers confined to Rubber Rooms had chosen a scoundrel named Ed Fagan to represent them. I have posted on Parentadvocates.org
("Con Man and Snake Oil Salesman Ed Fagan Sells His Services to the Teachers in the New York City Rubber Rooms") the information I have gathered on Mr. Fagan, after doing some internet research and talking with my friend Gizella Weisshaus. Mr. Fagan is $13.6 million in debt, and desperately needs money. The NYC BOE staffers confined in the "rubber rooms" are, for the most part victims of malicious principals who want to remove good people from the public school system for unreasonable and unproven 'crimes' that upon examination are not crimes at all. Therefore, most of the staffers in the RRs could have legally cognizable claims against their employer, the New York City Department of Education and Mr. Joel Klein. But choosing Ed Fagan to represent these claims was, in my opinion, a very big mistake.

Sunday, February 10, 2008
NJ Ethics Counsel says NY Holocaust Lawyer Ed Fagan should be Disbarred
In a report dated January 24, 2008, New Jersey Special Ethics Master, Arthur Minuskin, recommended that attorney Edward D. Fagan be disbarred from the practice of law in the Garden State. Fagan, who disputed the New Jersey charges, currently holds a license to practice law in New York.



Edward Fagan is most known for representing the original first named plaintiff, Gizella Weisshaus, in the 1996 Holocaust lawsuit against the Union Bank of Switzerland. That heavily litigated proceeding resulted in a $1.25 Billion dollar settlement in 2001, and generated a $1.3 million dollar legal fee to Fagan.

The blistering New Jersey Ethics Report concluded that Ed Fagan improperly used $39,902.25 of Holocaust Survivor Gizell Weisshaus’ money to pay his New York law office rent at 26 Broadway in Manhattan.

The disciplinary probe by the Office of Attorney Ethics of the Supreme Court of New Jersey also found that Mr. Fagan had lied about being authorized to disburse monies totaling nearly $400,000.00 given to him by Mrs. Weisshaus and another holocaust survivor, Estelle Sapir.

The New Jersey complaint resulted from a routine investigation conducted by the Office of Attorney Ethics when Mr. Fagan failed to pay his required annual client security fund fee. After he was suspended for nonpayment of the client security fund fee, the ethics committee further investigated Fagan to determine whether he was practicing law during the period of the suspension. That investigation raised questions about his possible misuse of trust account funds, including the Weisshaus and Sapir monies.

Fagan’s testimony during the ethics hearings revealed that in July of 2001, he received a $4.3 million lee fee in a Holocaust related German Global property settlement, in addition to the $1.3 million fee from the Swiss Bank case.

Previously, on Tuesday, August 28, 2007, this forum reported on one of the on-going horrors facing what people who know her describe as "the strong and beautiful Holocaust survivor Weisshaus." That report was titled, "Patentgate Ethics Scam Hits Holocaust Survivor."

As a young girl, Mrs. Gizella Weisshaus survived the Holocaust, but recently and now 77-years-old, she finds herself on the growing list of victims ensnarled in the Manhattan attorney ethics scandal shaking the New York State Court system.

Background

In July of 2007, it became publicly known that many ethics complaints against attorneys in the Bronx and Manhattan were methodically mishandled-- effectively buried or stalled—due to politically-based connections, favors or back-room deals. The "Patentgate" matter quickly highlighted the need in New York for federal intervention since the alleged theft of dozens of U.S. patents by the inventor's own New York lawyers-- the once respected and politically connected Proskauer Rose law firm-- went largely and substantively unaddressed. The Patentgate ethics complaints were obscured in New York at the very same time the identical issues found The United States Department of Justice widening their own investigation and, additionally, where members of the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary committees called for further probes. The ongoing ethics shake-up resulted in the quickly announced "retirement" of Manhattan's top State ethics Chief Counsel, Thomas J. Cahill, Esq., and whose replacement is expected to be announced soon. (See the related August 24, 2007 story below: "Justice Department Widens "Patentgate" Probe Buried by Ethics Chief Thomas J. Cahill" )

Holocaust Survivor meets New York “Ethics”

Mrs. Gizella Weisshaus was the named plaintiff in the 1996 filed historic lawsuit against Swiss banks that, after being designated as a class action proceeding, was settled in 1998 on behalf of thousands of Holocaust survivors for $1.25 billion.

Gizella, however, opted out of that settlement because, she says, certain involved attorneys were more interested in paying themselves millions of dollars even before some of the survivors had received any money. She would also learn, she says, that someone "manufactured" a necessary amended complaint in 2000 by backdating that court document to 1997. And she would also find that in an unrelated estate proceeding where she was the executrix, her own lawyer, Edward D. Fagan, had failed to deposit more than $82,000.00 into an attorney escrow account choosing, instead, to use the money for his own various personal expenses. (Mr. Fagan also represented Mrs. Weisshaus in the subsequent filing against the Swiss banks and from where he ultimately received millions of dollars in legal fees)

The Devil's Advocate

An attorney ethics complaint followed, and in a letter dated May 6, 1998, attorney disciplinary Chief Counsel Thomas J. Cahill's predecessor, Hal R. Lieberman, Esq., wrote to Gizella to advise that since her complaint against attorney Edward Fagan had involved an "ongoing criminal proceeding" his office would await the outcome of that proceeding before concluding their disciplinary investigation. Then-Chief Counsel Lieberman also advised Gizella that his New York State ethic's office had requested a written answer to the complaint from attorney Fagan. Edward Fagan then hired his own lawyer.

Letter to Self

Approximately 9 weeks later, in a July 15, 1998 dated formal answer to the charges against him, attorney Fagan's lawyer submitted a 6-page denial of the various charges made by Mrs. Weisshaus. Astonishingly, attorney Fagan's lawyer, who he had recently engaged, was none other than Hal R. Lieberman who, in a 9-week period of time, had left his position as Chief Counsel of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department Disciplinary Committee to join the law firm Beldock Levin & Hoffman, LLP.

So, essentially, on July 15, 1998 private attorney Hal Lieberman was responding to himself-- to his own May 6, 1998 letter wherein he, as the New York state-employed Ethics Chief Counsel had advised Gizella of the request for a written answer from the attorney she had filed a complaint against, and the same person who was to be Lieberman's client-- Edward Fagan.

Concerning the various ethics complaints against him in New York, no known action has ever been taken against attorney Edward D. Fagan.

see the documents marked:

1. NJ Ethics Findings- Disbar Fagan; and

2. "Weisshaus Fagan Lieberman" A May 6, 1998 dated letter from NY State Attorney Disciplinary Committee Chief Counsel Hal R. Lieberman to Mrs. Gizella Weisshaus RE: Edward Fagan (1 page); and A July 15, 1998 dated Answer to Complaint from private attorney Hal R. Lieberman to Mrs. Gizella Weisshaus RE: Edward Fagan (6 pages).

(If you would like a pdf copy of the New Jersey Ethics complaint emailed to you, advise us at corruptcourts@gmail.com)

A Special Report by Expose Corrupt Courts by Frank Brady (c) 2008

1 comment:

David said...

I'm a small potatoes process server in Philadelphia, PA. I wish I'd known more about Mr. F prior to accepting a small service job from him in early 2008 where he demanded expedited service to a firm in Philadelphia and then stiffed me repeatedly w/ his "check's in the mail" responses before falling off the face of the earth. I guess I'll have to get in line for my $100 behind the others in the $9.4m line.