HUNTINGTON, N.Y., Aug. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In a highly unusual and almost unprecedented decision, Suffolk County Surrogate's Court Judge John M. Czygier Jr. put the brakes on the runaway legal fees in the Estate of noted E. Hampton sculptor Norman J. Mercer being paid to the local Long Island law firm Moritt Hock & Hamroff by BNY Mellon and its co-trustees.
In his July 10, 2014 decision, Judge Czygier noted that "prior decisions issued warnings to counsel, specifically, Moritt Hock & Hamroff, LLP, of the possibility of disgorgement." After BNY and its co-trustees filed a recent accounting "seeking approval of legal fees paid to this firm (Moritt Hock & Hamroff) for services rendered well in excess of $1,000,000", Judge Czygier stated, "The Court is deeply concerned about the continuing charges to an estate initially valued at approximately $8,000,000." The July 10th decision directed that "no further legal fees may be charged against this decedent's estate and any trusts flowing therefrom pending the further order of the court."
Judge Czygier has commented repeatedly over the past two years about BNY Mellon's resistance to providing information sought by Howard and David Mercer in connection with their efforts to hold BNY Mellon and its co-fiduciaries accountable for what they allege is the gross mismanagement of their father's estate. This stonewalling resulted in the outrageous legal fees that Judge Czygier's July 10th Order has put a stop to.
In his prior August 29, 2012 Order, Judge Czygier stated; "This court finds the behavior of the fiduciaries (BNY Mellon, Martin Newman and Carol Mercer) troubling on a number of levels, including the possible editing of the corporate fiduciary's (BNY Mellon) guidelines prior to providing same to the Mercer sons' counsel."
More recently, in his May 27, 2014 Order Judge Czygier concluded; "given the fiduciaries' continued resistance to all aspects of discovery sought herein, the Court, pursuant to its authority under CPLR 3103, is granting the portion of the Mercer sons' application for the turnover of the ESO (Estate Settlement Officer) file."
Judge Czygier's July 10th Order is the most recent turn of events in Howard and David Mercer's ongoing commitment to preserve their father's legacy
SOURCE Novick & Associates, P.C., Attorneys for Mercer Sons