Document struggle complicates Kossoff law firm bankruptcy


Signage is seen in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, New York, United States, August 24, 2020. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly

  • Judge weighing sanctions against the insurance company
  • Kossoff would be the subject of a criminal investigation

(Reuters) – The Chapter 7 administrator overseeing Kossoff PLLC’s disbandment is stepping up fight to gain access to the files of the defunct New York real estate law firm, demanding sanctions against an insurance company and lobbying one of the world’s largest banks cooperate.

U.S. bankruptcy judge David Jones ordered New York’s American National Life Insurance Co to appear Tuesday after ignoring a subpoena from Togut, Segal & Segal’s Chapter 7 administrator Al Togut. The insurer must justify why it should not be penalized, according to Jones’ order.

Jones will also hear Togut’s request on Tuesday to compel Kossoff’s former accountant Julia McNally to comply with her subpoena. And he will get an update from Togut and JPMorgan Chase Bank NA on Togut’s request to access Kossoff’s bank accounts.

The Kossoff company was forced into bankruptcy in May after creditors claimed it embezzled more than $ 8 million from its escrow accounts. Walter Mack, lawyer for founder Mitchell Kossoff, said Kossoff was under investigation by the Manhattan district attorney.

Togut said in an email that the lack of cooperation in the case had forced him to take a strict approach to collecting cases. “It’s time consuming but it has become necessary,” he said.

JPMorgan argued that Togut’s contravention petition was filed incorrectly. The bank said it has already handed over thousands of pages of documents, but the trustee wants online access to the Kossoff company’s bank accounts so they can determine “which transfers the debtor made were outside the ordinary course of business. business, ”wrote Neil Berger. , Togut’s partner.

Jones on Wednesday ordered the trustee and the bank to meet and discuss their issues ahead of Tuesday’s appearance.

Togut and Mitchell Kossoff, once fixtures in the legal New York real estate market, have argued over the company’s records, with Kossoff arguing that he would waive his right to avoid self-incrimination if he did. delivered. Jones rejected that argument in July, and a federal judge in Manhattan dismissed Kossoff’s appeal on September 30.

Mack declined to comment on their next course of action. “All under study,” he said.

A spokesperson for JPMorgan declined to comment. Representatives for American National did not respond to a request for comment.

The case is In re Kossoff PLLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 21-10699.

For Togut: Neil Berger, Brian Shaughnessy and Minta Nester of Togut, Segal & Segal

For Kossoff: Walter Mack de Doar Rieck Kaley & Mack

For JPMorgan Chase: Alan Brody and Paul Ferak of Greenberg Traurig

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David thomas

David Thomas reports on legal affairs including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @ DaveThomas5150.

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