I was relieved this week to receive a totally not crazy letter from one of our coop’s attorneys.
In this case, the letter is from Mitchell Haddad, of Sills Cummis & Gross, in response to my several letters to board president Gary Altman about East River’s relationship with Jay Arthur Goldberg, the tax certiorari lawyer who has been named as a co-conspirator in the indictment against Assemblyman Sheldon Silver.
Mr. Haddad assures me “and any cooperators on whose behalf [I] claim to speak” that “as far as we are aware there is no agreement for referral fees or any sharing of fees and no such referral fees have ever been paid to board members or management.” That’s good news.
The question arose earlier this year when Silver was arrested — one of the schemes he’s accused of is bringing clients to Goldberg in exchange for referral fees, where those clients may have created a conflict of interest for Silver. When news of the federal investigation was first reported last December, East River and Hillman were both mentioned in the New York Times, with general manager Harold Jacob quoted defending our arrangement with Goldberg. Given the high profile of this case, I asked Gary Altman to clear the air by addressing the coop’s relationship to Goldberg. Altman had refused to do so for nine months.
With Silver’s corruption trial now in week two, and testimony about his relationship with Goldberg about to get under way, now seems like a good time to finally clear the air.