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Synopsis
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Handler Uses Grievance Committee to Quash Investigation

 

After Weinstock purchased the FDIC judgment from Mr. Joslin and pursued Handler in the Federal Court, Handler, following his modus operandi of attempting to defeat Weinstock by a war of attrition, filed a complaint against Weinstock with the Disciplinary Committee. In that complaint Handler was joined by Walker. The script was the same one that Handler had followed in the Simke (that was the case which gave rise to the California decision) case.  To defeat the Simke judgment, Handler retained Michael Gentile, Esq., former counsel to the Disciplinary Committee in Manhattan. Now it was Weinstock's turn. Handler retained the Michael Gentile firm to pursue Weinstock in the Brooklyn Disciplinary Committee and to thus discredit Weinstock and head off his relentless pursuit of the truth.

Handler had also sued Joslin (the one who originally purchased the FDIC judgment) and his attorneys and others from whom he had taken millions of dollars in investments. After Handler and Walker filed the aforesaid complaint with the Disciplinary Committee, Handler's emissaries appeared at Weinstock's office with an offer: if Weinstock would stop his pursuit of justice with respect to Handler and his associates, Handler would withdraw and cause Walker to withdraw the complaints they had filed with the Disciplinary Committee. Weinstock flatly rejected such an effort at extortion. Notwithstanding the express policy of the Disciplinary Committee to take no action on grievances while civil litigation is still outstanding, the Disciplinary Committee asked Weinstock to respond to the Handler/Walker complaint which was filed in 1997, while the appeal of the Justice Douglass decision was still pending. The Disciplinary Committee demanded that Weinstock appear at its offices for a "hearing" on the Walker/Handler complaints on August 4, 1998. Weinstock's appeal to the Appellate Division had not yet been heard. It was not to be heard until October 19, 1998. Little did Weinstock know that the call from the Disciplinary Committee was instigated by Handler's criminal attorneys.

Handler's emissaries went to Weinstock's office after the August 4, 1998 "hearing", at which Weinstock gave testimony at the Disciplinary Committee offices. By a letter dated September 3, 1998 Weinstock informed the Disciplinary Committee of the said offer by the Handler emissaries. During the course of the "hearing" on the Handler/Walker complaint, which was held on August 4, 1998, counsel for the Disciplinary Committee asked on several occasions to speak to Weinstock "off the record." In that "off the record" conversation, counsel for the Disciplinary Committee suggested that Weinstock should not pursue his claims against Handler and CGS&H, as it was not worth it in view of the tremendous cost to him in both health and finances. Weinstock rejected the suggestion made by the counsel. The Disciplinary Committee then formally filed charges against Weinstock essentially alleging two violations of the Disciplinary Rules:

 

1. that Weinstock improperly acquired a proprietary interest in the subject matter of litigation in that when Weinstock represented Walker (as a principal of 4200 Avenue K Realty Corp.) Weinstock agreed to accept a 20% of the stock of the "subject matter of the litigation". Thus a violation of Disciplinary Rules 1-102 (a)(8) of the Lawyers Code of Professional Responsibility and Rule 5-103 of said code.

2. that Weinstock violated Disciplinary Rule 1-102(a)(5) of the Lawyers Code of Professional Responsibility and Rule 7-102(a)(1) of the said code when Weinstock took an appeal from the Supreme Court's Order of March 26, 1997, from a decision made by Justice Simeon Golar which denied Weinstock's application to set aside and vacate an order which had set aside a separation agreement entered between Weinstock and his former wife.

 

The latter charge came about as a result of the fact that during Weinstock's divorce trial held before Justice Simeon Golar, Weinstock's former wife admitted, inter alia, that contrary to what she had testified to in a prior trial to set aside the Separation Agreement, that at the time she entered into the Separation Agreement, she was Weinstock's bookkeeper and was fully familiar with all of Weinstock's finances. In all prior proceedings, Weinstock's former wife had denied having any knowledge whatsoever of his finances and denied that she had ever been his bookkeeper.

In an unprecedented and unique decision, the Appellate Division sanctioned Weinstock $10,000 for bringing that one appeal. The Disciplinary Committee "sua sponte" (at its own initiative), charged Weinstock with a violation of the Disciplinary Rules following the imposition of the sanction hereinabove set forth. Both of those charges brought against Weinstock by the Disciplinary Committee are unique to Weinstock. Disciplinary proceedings charging an attorney with taking an interest in the subject matter of litigation are rare and charges with respect to a contingency fee type arrangement, such as Weinstock had with Walker are unique to Weinstock. Acquisition of stock in a client corporation is favored by the Courts. Furthermore, no published reports exist of any disciplinary action ever taken against any attorney for having filed one single appeal and/or of having been sanctioned $10,000 for taking one appeal. Not even such notorious attorneys like Roy Cohn, William Kunstler or Bruce Cutler had ever been sanctioned like Weinstock was. In another case in which Weinstock has relentlessly pursued justice, his adversaries filed approximately 25 appeals, all of which they lost. Unlike the Weinstock case, the trial judge had warned those attorneys of the frivolous nature of their motions and appeals. They were fined a total of approximately $6,000 between the Trial Court and the Appellate Division. Can anyone rationally explain such a discrepancy in the administration of justice?

While the Disciplinary Committee has been furnished with many documents pertaining to the frauds described herein by the various firms, the position taken by the Disciplinary Committee is that it would not entertain those complaints or investigate those charges until the litigation was concluded. A position not being applied to "the matter of Israel Weinstock." The Appellate Division has ruled that Weinstock is "collaterally stopped" from presenting the evidence and the facts set forth herein on the basis that all those "facts" have already been ruled upon by Justice Douglass and the decision of the Appellate Division which sanctioned Weinstock $10,000. Thus, Weinstock is only entitled to a "hearing" on the issue of "mitigation." That is, a plea that the punishment to be imposed on Weinstock to be reduced. Weinstock is proud that in more than four decades of practicing law, the Disciplinary Committee could only come up with the above two charges which are both unique in the history of jurisprudence of the State of New York. Weinstock has asked the Disciplinary Committee that any hearing (in "mitigation") should be open to the public, so the world could bear witness to his treatment by the Court.

Following his often practiced tactics, Handler (and Roth) sued Weinstock for having shared the information he had with the FDIC and allegedly "defamed" them. Since Handler is in bankruptcy and any hypothetical proceeds of such lawsuit would belong to Handler's creditors (Weinstock holds over $2 Million in judgments against Handler), Handler has sworn that he "assigned" his defamation case to Roth. At a deposition of Handler held in June, 2001, in connection with the "defamation lawsuit", Handler revealed that his criminal defense attorneys had sent materials to the Disciplinary Committee on his behalf. The Disciplinary Committee had not provided Weinstock with his information, nor had it even informed Weinstock of the correspondence and given Weinstock an opportunity to rebut whatever it was the attorneys had provided to the Disciplinary Committee. On learning of the material Weinstock asked the Disciplinary Committee for copies, which the request was met with an invitation to view the material at the Disciplinary Committee's office.

During Weinstock's review, the Disciplinary Committee photocopied certain of the documents at his request, but refused to copy others.

In an attempt to deter Weinstock from continuing his pursuit of Handler's assets and proceeding before Judge Robert P. Patterson, Jr., Handler's criminal defense lawyers filed (and authored) a complaint with the New York State Grievance Committee. The level and intensity of the proceedings by the Grievance Committee bore a direct correlation to Judge Patterson's escalating challenges to the (mis)conduct of Mr. Handler and his attorneys. In a dramatic and telling departure from the express and established practices of the Grievance Committee not to process any disciplinary complaints while litigation is pending between the complainant and the attorney, the Grievance Committee in this instance proceeded to hold a "hearing" while the litigation was still pending as the appeal had not yet been heard. Thus: The Grievance Committee counsel clearly suggested to Weinstock at the "hearing" that if he dropped his proceedings against Handler, the complaints (Handler and Walker) pending against Weinstock at the Grievance Committee would then "go away".

Weinstock adamantly refused to succumb to such blackmail. Recently Weinstock found a letter written by Handler attorney Diana Parker, Esq. to the Grievance Committee (with a salutation "Dear Susan" [Susan Kornberg, Esq. being Deputy Counsel to the Committee]) in July 1998, suggesting, even before Weinstock had a hearing at the Offices of the Grievance Committee, that his license to practice law should be indefinitely suspended. As noted above, in May 1999 she swore that her firm had not performed any services of that nature on behalf of the Handlers. Weinstock respectfully submits that it was more than coincidence that counsel for the Grievance Committee placed a telephone call to him requesting that he appear at its offices for a hearing at or about the time that Diana Parker, Esq. wrote to the Committee and suggested that Weinstock be indefinitely suspended. It was at that "hearing" that the suggestion was made to Weinstock that the Grievance Committee complaint against him would be withdrawn if he were to discontinue his proceedings before Judge Robert P. Patterson against Handler.

It was further disclosed at the defamation deposition, that counsel for the Grievance Committee attempted to "broker" a deal whereby Weinstock's claims against Handler would be resolved, not in Judge Robert P. Patterson's court, but rather by a "Din Torah" a rabbinical tribunal. Handler's testimony further revealed that contemporaneously with his filing a Grievance complaint against Weinstock, he also filed another grievance against another attorney whom he accused of theft. Allegedly, counsel for the Grievance Committee requested the consent of Handler and his attorneys to defer action against the other attorney because it was short staffed and was concentrating its efforts on the proceedings against Weinstock, although Weinstock was not being accused of anything as serious as theft. Mr. Handler testified that "we agreed" [that the complaint against Weinstock should take priority]. Thus, according to Handler, the Grievance Committee sought the approval of Handler and his attorneys with respect to the management of the grievance against Weinstock.

At that deposition, Handler disclosed that his criminal defense attorneys had provided the Grievance Committee with a compendium as thick as a Brooklyn telephone book. He also disclosed that a similar compendium was provided by his criminal defense counsel to the Office of the U.S. Attorney. Significantly, neither the Grievance Committee nor the U.S. Attorney ever notified Weinstock that it received such a compendium and never gave Weinstock an opportunity to respond.

 Within that time frame, Handler sent emissaries on at least two separate occasions offering to have the complaint to the Grievance Committee withdrawn if Weinstock stopped his efforts to enforce his rights before Judge Robert P. Patterson. Weinstock was told in no uncertain terms that if he were to pursue his rights, a number of "innocent" people would be implicated in Handler's criminal conduct. In short, if Weinstock would stop his pursuit of his rights the complaints to the Grievance Committee would be withdrawn.

On another occasion, Weinstock was told that if he ceased his pursuit of his rights before Judge Robert P. Patterson, the complaints filed with the Grievance Committee would be withdrawn and, in addition, Weinstock would be paid several hundred thousand dollars. Weinstock staunchly refused to succumb to such blackmail.  On yet another occasion, Weinstock was "warned" that if he did not stop his pursuit of his rights, one of his attorneys would fraudulently implicate him in an unrelated criminal matter, which was being handled by their office. In reality it was a threat that Weinstock would be framed.

Weinstock rejected all of the foregoing entreaties. The proceedings of the Grievance Committee resulted in a "mitigation hearing," which Weinstock insisted should be publicly held. Several hundred people attended the hearing on August 21, 2001 to demonstrate their support of Weinstock. This "affair" has become an ugly stain on the judicial system. Perjury, fraud, extortion, influence have all become ingredients of this sordid affair. It is to be noted that the charges filed against Weinstock by the Grievance Committee are unique and unprecedented in the jurisprudence in the State of New York! [two of the charges are predicated upon the testimony of Handler associate, Jack Walker, who has admitted to the F.B.I. and in open Court that he fabricated his charges against Weinstock at the request of Handler, who then retained counsel for him].

 

 

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