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

Trustee wants N.Y. lawyer jailed for not cooperating in firm bankruptcy

(Reuters) – The Chapter 7 trustee overseeing the dissolution of New York actual property legislation firm Kossoff PLLC asked a bankruptcy decide Tuesday to carry its founder in civil contempt and order him incarcerated if he continues defying court docket orders to cooperate.

The trustee, Al Togut, additionally requested the decide in a separate motion Tuesday to compel the Manhattan district lawyer’s workplace to show over sure grand jury supplies referring to its investigation of firm founder Mitchell Kossoff.

The filings underline Togut’s mounting frustrations managing the property of the Kossoff firm, which was pressured into bankruptcy in Might after collectors claimed it misappropriated greater than $8 million from its escrow accounts.

Kossoff’s refusal to adjust to a number of court docket orders to provide data has “dramatically increased the administrative expense of this estate, which prejudices the interests of the victims of Kossoff’s fraudulent activity,” Togut wrote to U.S. Bankruptcy Choose David Jones.

Togut on Tuesday declined to remark.

Mitchell Kossoff, as soon as a fixture in the New York actual property authorized market, has argued he could be waiving his proper in opposition to self-incrimination if he turned firm data over to Togut, including that he would cooperate if he’s granted immunity from prosecution. Jones rejected that place in July, and a Manhattan federal decide dismissed Kossoff’s attraction on the matter Sept. 30.

Togut mentioned Jones can “enforce the terms of an order of civil contempt by directing the incarceration of the party who fails to comply with a lawful order.” Monetary sanctions will not work, given Kossoff’s obvious incapability to afford bankruptcy counsel, Togut added.

Walter Mack, a felony protection lawyer for Kossoff, did not reply to a request for remark.

Mack has mentioned Kossoff is underneath investigation by the Manhattan district lawyer. The district lawyer has data which can be “essential” to Togut’s administration of the Kossoff firm’s property, nevertheless it has “turned a deaf ear,” Togut wrote.

“The trustee seeks only copies of the debtor’s internal business documents. The trustee’s request is not about obtaining bombshell witness testimony,” Togut added.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan district lawyer declined to remark.

The case is In re Kossoff PLLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court docket 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 of Doar Rieck Kaley & Mack

Learn extra:

Struggle over paperwork complicates Kossoff legislation firm bankruptcy

Embattled actual property lawyer Kossoff cannot protect docs in bankruptcy

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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