Sunday, August 3, 2008

No Press Follow Up on Outstanding Issues

We are continuing our investigation to find a follow-up to the Attorney Generals and State Comptroller 2nd report in 1992 and what were the results of the U.S. Attorneys call for an investigation. Where have you gone institutional memory? Or at least Google.

1 comment:

interested said...

There were four follow-ups (of sorts) that I know about.
1. The State legislature passed a watered-down version of a reform bill in 1993. It required counsel to the public administrator (P.A.) to submit an affidavit of services and established an administrative board for the offices of the P.A.s. See New York Law Journal, June 28, 1993 "Bill on Public Administrators Hits Opposition"; July 13, 1993 "Pair of Estate Bills Win Passage"; and August 10, 1993 "Cuomo Signs Public Administrator Reform Bill."
Feinberg and Rosenthal weren't the only ones who ignored the new affidavit requirement. In his audit of the Manhattan P.A., Comptroller McCall found that Roth and Griffin did too. See New York Law Journal, February 9, 1998 and/or the NYC Comptroller's website for the actual audit.
2. Judith Kaye created Part 36 of the Rules of the Chief Judge, which became effective in 2003Among other things, Rule 36.4(e) requires counsel to the P.A. to submit a form to the Office of Court Administration (1)whenever counsel receives compensation of $5,000 or more and (2)whenever the surrogate approves a fee in excess of the Administrative Board's fee schedule.
The Rule also requires these records be published "as determined by the Chief Administrator."
The Office of Court Administration informed me that the information is published on under "Litigants" and "Guardian & Fiduciary." But when I did a search, there were NO RECORDS for any of the lawyers in the firm of Beckerman & Reddy, and I KNOW they get more than $5,000 per estate.
3. NYC Comptroller Thompson did an audit in 2007 finding that Manhattan P.A. Griffin helps her attorneys, accountants, and others avoid paying taxes on the fees she pays them by not issuing the required IRS forms. Griffin did not issue 1099-MISC forms for payments approximating $4 million, of which $2.79 million was to her attorneys.
I don't think any of the newspapers reported this. The audit is on the Comptroller's website (Google "MD07-062A").It was brought to the attention of the IRS but, apparently, they weren't interested.
4. The State Assembly introduced a bill last year
(A.5098)to eliminate the public administrators in New York City and replace them with a division within the Corporation Counsel's office. It was sent to the Committee on the Judiciary, who didn't act on it. So it has to be re-introduced.

Google doesn't really have a lot about this issue. I suggest you go to the public library (SIBL) to search its database "New York State Newspapers." Even better is a search on their FACTIVA, ProQuest, and LEXIS-NEXIS databases. They have articles that, for some reason, aren't in the NYS Newspapers database.