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Court halts hearing



Published: Tue, April 12, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The judge says he has jurisdiction to have Goldberg answer questions.

YOUNGSTOWN -- The 7th District Court of Appeals has temporarily stopped Mahoning County's probate judge from having a hearing to determine whether former lawyer Richard D. Goldberg has concealed funds from a guardianship.

Judge Timothy P. Maloney last week had ordered Goldberg to appear in probate court to question him on whether he wrongfully concealed or retained $1 million in assets of the guardianship of the estate of Michael James Kish.

A special-needs trust had been established for Kish, who is incapable of taking care of himself. Goldberg had represented the Kish family in a malpractice lawsuit after Michael Kish had become incapacitated.

Last month, Judge Maloney overruled an agreement between Goldberg's lawyers, the lawyer who is the guardian of Kish's estate, and the county prosecutor's office in which Goldberg agreed to make restitution of $60,733 to Kish.

Previous hearing

In his March 25 entry, the judge said the concealment action had not been resolved in his court. Judge Maloney had a three-day hearing on the matter in May 2000, but did not rule and continued the case. His entry says he still has jurisdiction in the case.

Further, since Goldberg had pleaded guilty to 29 charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft and forgery, the disbarred lawyer had waived his Fifth Amendment privilege of self-incrimination, Judge Maloney's entry says.

Goldberg's lawyer, Brian E. Dickerson of Columbus, filed a motion in the appellate court asking it to stop the probate court hearing because Judge Maloney did not have jurisdiction.

The motion asserted, among other legal matters, that Goldberg had filed for bankruptcy in 2001, and that U.S. Bankruptcy Court now had jurisdiction over any financial matters in which Goldberg was involved.

The bankruptcy court has not released its jurisdiction, and therefore, Judge Maloney could not order Goldberg to probate court on the concealment issue, Dickerson argued in his motion.

The appellate court has given Judge Maloney 28 days to show why he should not be permanently stopped from ordering Goldberg to appear for the concealment hearing.

The appellate court can have a hearing after that period, or rule on the case after receiving a response from Judge Maloney.




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