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Goldbergs should recognize real cause of their distress



Published: Sun, July 1, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



If there is one person who bears ultimate responsibility for the humiliation, emotional distress and physical discomfort being experienced by the Goldberg family, it is Richard D. Goldberg, the former lawyer now serving a 41-month sentence in federal prison.

Had Goldberg not defrauded his former clients out of millions of dollars, his wife, Dorothy, his two minor daughters and four adult children would not be suffering the consequences of the ongoing investigation into his life.

Last year, the Goldberg family home in Liberty, the ex-lawyer's warehouse in Girard and a warehouse used by the children were searched by police officers. The search was ordered by Judge Timothy P. Maloney of the Mahoning County Probate Court. That action has now triggered a $21 million lawsuit by Mrs. Goldberg and the children, alleging that the search and the seizure of their personal property were unlawful.

The suit, seeking $7 million in compensatory damages from Judge Maloney and 16 others, mostly police officers, and $14 million in punitive damages from Maloney, has been assigned to the U.S. District Court in Akron.

The plaintiffs claim they were deprived of their property without due process and that they were deprived of their right to be secure in their homes, papers and effects. Mrs. Goldberg and her children contend that the search and seizure resulted in their being humiliated, emotionally distressed and physically upset.

Federal investigation: Really? What about when Richard Goldberg, who had earned a reputation as one of the leading malpractice lawyers in Ohio and whose high-flying lifestyle had put him in a class of his own in the region's legal community, became the target of a federal investigation and subsequently pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding clients?

Goldberg admitted that he bilked 23 clients out of $4.5 million. He was sentenced last year and began serving a 41-month term in a federal prison in Morgantown, W. Va.

Also last year, Judge Maloney sentenced the disgraced lawyer to 21 months in the county jail after he completes his federal prison stint. The probate judge had handled four cases in which Goldberg kept $1.2 million that should have been paid to his clients as settlements from lawsuits. He also failed to account for $20,000 he had spent from another estate.

With all this attention to his business dealings and with investigators delving into his personal life, how could his wife and children not have been affected?

Sports cars: Goldberg had it all -- a lucrative practice, exotic sports cars, mink coats and connections with the political high and mighty. Yet, when the details of his corrupt practices were made public, it turned out that he worse than a common criminal. Why? Because he violated the trust that had been placed in him by individuals who felt they had been wronged and had turned to him for help.

Goldberg's behavior has shamed the Mahoning Valley.




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