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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Panel Suspends Attorney for Trying to Deceive Court

Panel Suspends Attorney for Trying to Deceive Court
The New York Law Journal by Brendan Pierson  -  June 6, 2012

Manhattan attorney Armand Rosenberg has been suspended for one year for trying to deceive a court in the course of a real estate dispute, confirming the recommendation of the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. The charges against him arise from a case in which he represented Peter Costalas, a member of a family partnership along with his brothers James and John that owned five buildings and 12 restaurants. According to the First Department's ruling yesterday, Peter "diverted millions of dollars in partnership funds and mortgaged buildings" by using forged signatures "to cover losses incurred in connection with his personal trading in stock options." His brothers sued him, and he reached a settlement that included giving them his share in the partnership. The brothers later sold their share to Vivia Amalfitano, James' daughter. In 2001, Peter sued her and her husband in Manhattan state court, alleging his partnership had been transferred away fraudulently and he was still a partner. That suit was dismissed, and the Amalfitanos sued Peter in federal court for allegedly deceiving the state court during the litigation by providing false information. Southern District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald agreed that Armand had engaged in a "persistent pattern of unethical behavior" and assessed treble damages of $268,245 against him (NYLJ, Feb. 17, 2009). She found that Rosenberg filed the state lawsuit on behalf of Peter "despite knowing it was entirely baseless" because the lawyer had represented Peter in the earlier settlement and knew he had given up his partnership. The panel consisted of Justices Richard Andrias, David Saxe, John Sweeny, James Catterson and Rolando Acosta. Rosenberg is represented by Richard Maltz.

Matter of Rosenberg, M-3654
Disciplinary Proceeding, Appellate Division, First Department  -  M-3654
Cite as: Matter of Rosenberg, M-3654, NYLJ 1202557354417, at *1 (App. Div. 1st, Decided June 5, 2012)  -  Before: Andrias, J.P., Saxe, Sweeny, Catterson and Acosta, JJ.  -  Decided: June 5, 2012
Jorge Dopico, Chief Counsel, Departmental Disciplinary Committee, New York (Scott D. Smith, of counsel), for petitioner.  Richard M. Maltz, for respondent.

Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Armand J. Rosenberg, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the First Judicial Department on April 2, 1951.

PER CURIAM  -  Respondent Armand J. Rosenberg was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the First Judicial Department on April 2, 1951. At all time relevant to this proceeding, respondent's registered office was within the First Department.  By order dated October 13, 2010 this Court granted the Departmental Disciplinary Committee's petition for an order giving collateral estoppel effect to an April 2006 decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in the case of  Amalfitano v. Rosenberg  -  (428 F Supp 2d 196 [SDNY 2006], affd 572 F3d 91 [2d Cir 2009]), in which respondent was found to have engaged in fraudulent conduct, in violation of New York Judiciary Law §487, and imposed treble damages in the amount of $268,245.54. Our order further found that respondent's conduct violated DR 1-102(A)(4) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation), DR 1-102(A)(5) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice), DR 1-102(A)(7) (conduct that adversely reflects on respondent's fitness as a lawyer), DR 7-102(A)(4) (knowingly using perjured testimony), and DR 7-102(A)(5) (knowingly making a false statement of law or fact), and referred the matter to a Hearing Panel for a sanction hearing. The Committee is now seeking an order confirming the Hearing Panel's findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendation of a one-year suspension.  This matter stems from respondent's representation of Peter Costalas, who, along with his two brothers, James and John, were members of a family partnership that owned five buildings and twelve restaurants. Peter diverted millions of dollars in partnership finds and mortgaged buildings by use of forged signatures in order to cover losses incurred in connection with his personal trading in stock options. As a result, James and John commenced an action against Peter and his brokers. In August 1993, respondent negotiated an agreement on Peter's behalf in which Peter, among other things, assigned and transferred his interest in the partnership to John, and in return, was dismissed as a defendant in the litigation.  Thereafter, Vivia Amalfitano, James' daughter, purchased the partnership's remaining building and restaurant from John and James. In May 2001, respondent commenced an action in New York County, Supreme Court, naming Vivia and her husband, Gerard Amalfitano, Esq., as defendants, alleging that they defrauded John and James into conveying the partnership's remaining property and business, and that Peter was still a partner. The action was eventually dismissed during trial. Respondent then unsuccessfully appealed the trial court's order denying his motion to vacate (see  Costalas v. Amalfitano  -  23 AD3d 303 [2005]).  In March 2004, the Amalfitanos commenced the above-mentioned federal action against respondent alleging that respondent's commencement and prosecution of the state court action against them constituted a violation of Judiciary Law §487.  We agree with the recommendation of the Panel that respondent should be suspended for one year ( Matter of Berglas, 16 AD3d 1 [2005] [one-year suspension, where respondent submitted three filings to the INS containing false information regarding his clients' addresses]; Matter of Nash, 166 AD2d 84 [1991] [one-year suspension, where respondent falsely notarized documents and submitted false verifications and affidavits in a matrimonial action]).  Accordingly, the Committee's motion to confirm the Hearing Panel's determination should be granted and respondent suspended from the practice of law for one year, and until further order of this Court.  All concur.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where's the criminal prosecution? Oh, I forgot this is NY, where he'll be told he's been naughty and he can go back to being naughty after a make-believe staying in his room for a year.

Anonymous said...

yeah, but he gave up pasta!

Searching For Rule Of Law In America said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Searching For Rule Of Law In America said...

unfortunately it is a fact... there are law firms that, while being fully aware of the facts and the record, use their expertise and knowledge of the law and the process to present what amounts to false testimony in a willful and calculated attempt to subvert the very process of the judiciary and to manipulate and subvert that process...

unfortunately, these lawyers have the blessings of certain judges to whom the Rule Of Law has little, if any importance...

this is nothing less than a fraud upon the court... a cause of action at both state and federal law...


--Michael A. Hense is Searching For Rule Of Law In America

Anonymous said...

don't attorneys deceive the courts all the time? that's how they get over on the system.

Anonymous said...

Why wasn't there a prosecution?

One year loss of license is not much. Why not take away license for life? If a licensed realtor commits a crime such as dwi, he looses his brokers license for life, unless he pays mega dollars to the top lawyer in the area.

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2