Judge dismisses real estate lawyer Mitchell kossoffattempts to put an end to the multiple lawsuits against him on the missing escrow funds.
Justice Jennifer schecter ruled on Monday that the numerous civil proceedings against Kossoff, who filed for disappearance in April, can continue despite attempts by his lawyers to obtain a stay against them.
The decision was initially reported by Crain’s New York company.
Kossoff, who represented some of New York’s largest multi-family homeowners, disappeared in April as his clients and partners at his eponymous law firm apparently couldn’t reach him for weeks.
He has been the subject of lawsuits for at least $ 4 million from various companies, including SSM Real Estate Group, for the missing escrow funds as well as four owners unintentionally try to force him into bankruptcy.
Kossoff’s lawyer, A. Michael Furman, then filed a motion for a stay of business. Furman argued that since Kossoff is under investigation by the Manhattan attorneythe office of and the office of American Lawyer for the Eastern District of New York, submitting documents for civil cases would violate Kossoff’s “constitutional right against self-incrimination,” with which Schecter disagreed.
“There is no indication in the record that genuine criminal proceedings have been initiated and the main documents sought – his company’s financial records – cannot be withheld by him on Fifth Amendment grounds,” Schecter wrote in his decision. “Indeed, Kossoff is in default because he refused to respond to the complaints and default judgment motions have been filed; thus, it may not even be necessary to invoke the Fifth Amendment in a deposition or trial.
Furman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
After Kossoff disappeared, his law firm appeared to have dissolved and his staff resigned and filed a lawsuit claiming he was missing paychecks.
His mother, Phyllis kossoff, claimed that his son made his signature on three notarized agreements to advance merchants’ funds for more than $ 2 million in overdue loans, according to court records.
“I only learned about the fraud last week when my son, Mitchell Kossoff, told me that there were documents that had my signature but that I had not signed,” Phyllis Kossoff wrote in court records.
Nicholas Rizzi can be reached at [email protected].