Sunday, July 6, 2008

Surrogate Roth Appoints Rubinstein into Conflict of Interest

“A Manhattan judge who is the subject of a federal conflict-of-interest probe recently presided over a case where the plaintiff was the judge's own lawyer in a multimillion-dollar court fight, The Post has learned. Seth Rubenstein successfully represented the judge, Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Marylin Diamond, in her Surrogate Court battle over the $300 million-plus estate of art heiress Natasha Gelman.

Rubenstein was still in Diamond's employ when he was substituted in as the plaintiff in a real-estate brokerage-fee case that was already before her, Helen Miller versus Jane Ardsley Frocks. The elderly Miller died on Sept. 13, 2001, and Manhattan Surrogate Court Judge Renee Roth named Rubenstein the administrator of Miller's $300,000 estate. Diamond signed an order naming him the new plaintiff in Miller's suit two months later. His case remained before her until this past February, when the judge issued a one-sentence order recusing herself. – NY Post, July 2, 2003
Mr. Rubenstein also said that in 1982 he removed himself from OCA's lists of attorneys eligible to receive fiduciary appointments, but since then judges have appointed him because of his expertise, a step judges may take as long as they state their reasons for appointing off the list. - NY Law Journal, August 21, 2009

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