New York, NY, April 25, 2011 – Last week, Michael G. Kessler President / CEO of Kessler International filed a brief in the New York Supreme Court – Appellate Division urging it to affirm the indisputable power of the Supreme Court over seized funds and its indisputable power to order payments from those funds for defense costs.
THE FACTS IN THE CASE
Michael G. Kessler was not a defendant in the case. He had no connection with the defendants, Louis and Betty Posner. He was a forensic accountant to whom the Supreme Court promised payment for his services to defense counsel. On October 1, 2009 – before Kessler agreed to provide his services – Justice Michael Obus ruled that Kessler’s fees were to be paid out of funds which had been seized from the defendants pursuant to search warrants issued by the court. The seized funds, which had been divided into two roughly equal portions, were being held by the New York County District Attorney and the New York City Police Department. Justice Obus stated that he would review each of the invoices before he approved payment out of the seized funds.
On February 18 and April 13, 2010, Justice Obus entered orders directing the NYPD to release $17,149.50 and $30,853.50 respectively to pay Kessler sums “owed [to him] for work performed on behalf of Mr. Posner.” Instead of complying with Justice Obus’s payment orders, the NYPD sought by order to show cause to have them vacated. Justice Obus denied the application of the NYPD for a number of reasons but among them, the most directly relevant to Kessler was the inequity of luring the defense into trial preparation expenditures without ultimate payment. To further cloak its disobedience with a semblance of legality, the NYPD appealed the orders entered, to which it was not a party.
Consequently, more than a year has passed since Kessler submitted his bills for payment – and he still has not been paid. Kessler only wished to be paid for services which he performed on the basis of explicit advance authorization by the Supreme Court.
THE IMPACT THIS CASE WILL HAVE TO THE LEGAL COMMUNITY
The outcome of this case will have far reaching effects across the state of New York and nationally with reference to the ability of an individual to adequately defend himself after the police seize their assets. If this case is decided in favor of the NYPD, criminal defense attorneys and experts will think long and hard before accepting the word of the court that they will be paid for their work.
The brief was prepared by Roger J Bernstein, Esq. of 535 Fifth Avenue, 35th Floor
New York, New York 10017 212-227-8383 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Michael G. Kessler CFE Cr.FA DFCB DABFA FACFE
Mr. Kessler is currently the President and CEO of Kessler International, a global forensic accounting, computer forensics and investigative consulting firm. Mr. Kessler has been classified as an expert in the area of forensic accounting and computer forensics and has provided his expertise for many defense and plaintiff cases. He has also held the position of Deputy Inspector General for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Chief of Investigations for New York State Department of Tax and Finance, Director of the New York State Revenue Crimes Bureau and Assistant Chief Auditor / Investigator for the New York State Special Prosecutor (NYS Attorney General).
Roger J. Bernstein, Esq.
Mr. Bernstein is a litigator with extensive trial experience in federal and state courts. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he was involved in national class action cases under the federal antitrust and environmental statutes for the firm of Berger & Montague, P.C., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He then was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, where he prosecuted white-collar criminal cases involving fraud, tax, and other issues. Since 1987, Mr. Bernstein has been in private practice in New York handling a wide variety of litigation matters, including, among others, employment law cases, federal RICO cases, election law cases, and government enforcement proceedings under the securities and aviation safety laws. Mr. Bernstein represents both plaintiffs and defendants in civil and commercial litigation, and vigorously defends clients in criminal proceedings.
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