BY FRANK PARLATO
Several readers have commented that my series on Shmuel Shmueli must be a fabrication.
No one could be such a rascal.
Others have said I am picking on a nice Jewish man and could I provide some proof that Shmueli is half the scalawag that I paint him to be?
I was cut to the quick by the suggestion that I had exaggerated the cupidity of Shmueli.
Before giving detailed dates and quotes, I will skim through the long list of people he screwed in the past who took judgments against him or sued him in vain. Since he never paid one of them it seems almost irrelevant.
Start with his Brooklyn, NY, Hebrew language newspaper employees who did not get paid, Dr. Yossi Gamzu, Meyer Bendet, Joseph Billig, Boaz Gabbai, Uri Lehavi or Noam Niv.
Yori Yanover, a writer for Shmueli, summed it up best when he wrote for the JewishPress. com, “Shmuel Shmueli…. bounced checks like he was one of the five openers of the Harlem Globe Trotters.”
I will skip the details of vendors Shmueli stiffed like Expedi Printing, Mid Atlantic Graphics, Banco Popular, Verizon, and Sprint.
They could afford to take the hit.
And let us look kindly past the people in Israel that trusted this fine, orthodox Jewish man like Nechama Goldman, Amos Bahat, Amos Carmeli and Eitan Eldar.
And I’ll only mention the people who foolishly gave him credit in Brooklyn like Alan Resnick and Daniel Spitz.
And space does not permit a close look at the $24 million judgement Shmueli owes Haaretz Daily Newspapers, Maariv Modiin Publishing Co., Ltd., and the Publication Group, Inc. of Los Angles for stealing their work for years.
Or the lawyers who defended Shmueli in his copyright infringement lawsuit, like Moskowitz & Book, Andrew Paul Cooper and Jon Lefkowitz.
And we may as well also brush past Jacob and Eva Fuhrman who he cheated out of moving into their home and who won a judgement of $56,668.81 against Shmueli, which of course Shmueli did not pay.
Instead, let’s talk about his lawyers he retained to sue me.
Starting in 2007, Shmueli commenced a series of 10 lawsuits against me and my partner Larry Reger. While we won all of the lawsuits, it cost us more than $1 million in legal fees. By the way, Shmueli had a significant advantage. While we paid our lawyers, he didn’t.
Here is a brief timeline.
Shmueli retained Zdarsky Sawicki and Agostinelli.
Shmueli retained Anderson and Anderson of Ghanzou, China.
Shmueli retained Jaeckle Fleishmann and Mugal. Aug: Shmueli retained HoganWillig.
He stopped paying Zdarsky, Sawicki & Agostinelli. They sought to withdraw as Shmueli’s counsel and sought a retaining lien for unpaid invoices totaling $141,769.66.
HoganWillig had racked up 500 billable hours with unpaid legal fees of $114,712.92. When Shmueli disputed he owed anything, HoganWillig agreed to settle for $54,597.
Shmueli tendered two checks drawn on an account of the Hang Seng Bank of Hong Kong totaling $54, 597 to HoganWillig who deposited the checks in their bank account.
Corey Hogan was to later write to the judge to explain what happened next: “Mr. Shmueli, secretly and without cause, stopped payment on two checks…. and our office was not informed until approximately 6 weeks later (because the check was not drawn on a US bank). At first, Mr. Shmueli expressly denied that he had stopped payment.”
Making his efforts to stiff lawyers truly international, Shmueli stopped paying his Chinese lawyers, Anderson and Anderson. He received several dunning emails from Ms. Wu Xiaoqing of the Finance Department:
[June 30] “You promised to settle our outstanding bills many times…. Please note that you must settle these outstanding bills immediately. ….
[July 13] “We hope you are now in a position to immediately pay the balance of the money outstanding to our firm, some of which go back to January of this year.
[July 19] “Mr. Buxbaum tried to call you, but there is no answer. Where are you? We need your payment urgently.”
[July 21] “You have not have the courtesy of paying this bill over this long period. We trust you, since you appear to be a friend of Mr. Buxbaum. However, you have not rewarded our trust. Payment in full is not made today we will consider what action to take.
[July 23] “You said you would call Mr. Buxbaum, but he never receive your call. We can not keep waiting for these long overdue payments.”
[July 29] “Re: Outstanding Bills of US$57,047.75 (HK$444,972.45) We have not received payment for the above outstanding bills. We are shocked by your unethical behavior, we will take legal action against you immediately, unless payment in full is received this week.”
[Nov. 11] “You appear to be played games. You made an appointment in Hong Kong with our senior lawyer, and you do not bother to show up, claiming you are not in Hong Kong. We will bill you for the time Mr. Buxbaum wasted as result of your acts…. It is clear you have no intention of honoring your financial and moral obligations.”
Meanwhile back in the USA, Shmueli hired a new lawyer — to sue his old lawyers. Andrew Lavoot Bluestone of NYC was retained for “a matter of legal malpractice and to defend an attorney fee dispute.
It is anticipated that the opposing entities in these cases will be Zdarsky, Sawicki & Agostinelli, LLP, HoganWillig PLLC and Jaeckle, Fleischmann & Mugel LLP.”
HoganWillig obtained a judgment against Shmueli for $114,712.92.
Hogan wrote in an affidavit, Shmueli has” a history of engaging in a pattern and practice of engaging firms to provide legal services to them at their request and then refusing to pay for the services provided….. This was the case with Zdarsky, Sawicki & Agostinelli LLP …. It our understanding that Defendants did the same thing to Blair & Roach and a Manhattan law firm.….”
Meanwhile Anderson and Anderson’s David Buxbaum wrote to Hogan hoping he could tell him where to find him: “Mr. Shmueli … engaged our firm to provide legal services …. despite an agreement to remit payment for the legal services rendered, Mr. Shmueli failed to make payment and went into hiding. If you know where he presently reside, please inform us….”
Justice Caruso set the retaining lien for Zdarsky against Shmueli at $97,000. Shmueli countersued Zdarsky for malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty.
Anderson & Anderson commenced a lawsuit in the NYS Supreme Court in Niagara County against Shmueli to recover legal fees in the amount of $57,047.75. 2011
On the same day that Judge Frank Caruso fixed a retaining lien for Jaeckle Fleishmann at $44,000 for Shmueli’s unpaid legal fees to them, Shmueli retained a new law firm, Kloss Stenger & LoTempio to represent him.
Shmueli stopped paying Kloss Stenger & LoTempio.
David Kloss wrote to Judge Ralph Boniello seeking to withdraw since Shmueli “refuses to pay for legal services and disbursements incurred since January 10, 2012…. Further, during the course of our representation, Mr. Shmueli repeatedly made meritless derogatory and defamatory statements, verbal and written, pertaining to Joseph J. Marusak’s integrity, which seriously eroded the relationship of trust between KSL and the plaintiff.”
While Shmueli continued his lawsuit against Zdarsky’s firm, their attorney, Lawrence Vilardo wrote to the court: “(T)here is no end in sight to (Shmueli’s) shell game…”
Meanwhile Bluestone, the New York City lawyer Shmueli hired to sue other lawyers, requested permission from the judge to withdraw. Bluestone wrote, “My legal bills for August, September, October and November have not been paid, nor have my travel expenses. I cannot afford to represent clients who do not pay their bills…. I have asked Mr. Shmueli to pay my bills and to get a new attorney, but he refuses.”
Shmueli entered into a retainer agreement with Kazlow and Kazlow.
Shmueli signed a revised retainer.
Gene Kazlow wrote, “The reason why the retainer agreement was revised was that I had learned that certain representations made to me by Mr. Shmueli concerning the status of settlement discussions in the case, on which I had based the compensation structure in the initial agreements, were false.”
Kazlow requested from Justice Timothy Walker permission to withdraw. “It was “clear that our attorney-client relationship was in deep trouble….. The Court may discern from Mr. Shmueli’s affidavit the level to which the attorney-client relationship between Kazlow & Kazlow and plaintiff has deteriorated in that Mr. Shmueli speaks of pursuing claims against Kazlow & Kazlow, and me personally, even though, to the best of my knowledge, Kazlow & Kazlow has not done anything to injure plaintiff. Obviously, Kazlow & Kazlow should not be required to remain in the case under such circumstances.”
…. To be continued….