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Baltimore City

Lawyer representing Orioles owner Peter Angelos in fight over his fortune has conflicts of interest, son Louis’ attorney says

A lawyer for Louis Angelos, who has sued his mother and brother over control of the Orioles, the law firm and other assets of his father, Peter Angelos, says the attorney appointed to represent the incapacitated family patriarch should be disqualified because of conflicts of interest.

Benjamin Rosenberg, who represents Peter Angelos, has “an extreme and uncontrolled animus” toward his own client’s law firm, according to Louis Angelos’ attorney. Louis Angelos has run the law firm in the several years since his father fell ill, and is fighting an attempt by his mother and brother, John Angelos, the chairman and CEO of the Orioles, to dissolve or sell the practice.

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The “animus” stems from a case in which the Angelos law firm represented banker and developer Ed Hale in litigation against one of Rosenberg’s partners, wrote Jeffrey E. Nusinov in a letter to Baltimore County Circuit Judge Keith R. Truffer.

“In my two attempts to discuss the subject with him, he became so enraged that he shouted expletives that I cannot repeat here,” Nusinov said in the letter to the judge dated Nov. 21.

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In the letter and a subsequent motion filed Wednesday, Nusinov also alleged two other conflicts of interest: the involvement of Rosenberg’s firm in an ongoing asbestos case in which Angelos attorneys were accused of withholding evidence, and Rosenberg’s relation by marriage to Steven D. Silverman, who represents John Angelos.

Rosenberg declined to comment. Silverman said Monday that Rosenberg is “widely viewed as the most respected and ethical Maryland lawyer of the last half century. His reputation is impeccable.”

At a hearing in October, Baltimore County Circuit Judge Keith R. Truffer appointed Benjamin Rosenberg, above, founder and chairman of the Rosenberg Martin Greenberg law firm, to represent Peter Angelos.

The dispute is the latest development in the family feud that arose over the empire built by Peter Angelos, 93. In June, Louis Angelos, 53, sued his mother Georgia, 80, and his brother John, 55, over what he characterized as their attempt to wrest control of the family’s holdings.

In August, Georgia Angelos sued Louis Angelos, saying his transfer of the Angelos law firm to himself amounted to “financial elder abuse” of his father.

The suits revealed that the family was preparing for a possible sale of the Orioles, and that Georgia and John wanted to unload the decades-old law firm, which is renowned for winning billions of dollars on behalf of victims of asbestos and tobacco.

At a hearing in October, Truffer appointed Rosenberg, the founder and chairman of the Rosenberg Martin Greenberg law firm, to represent Peter Angelos in the proceedings. Lawyers for Georgia Angelos had objected, saying that Peter Angelos had designated his wife as his attorney-in-fact, giving her the power to speak and act on his behalf.

In a letter to Truffer dated Nov. 17, Rosenberg sought access to the finances and records of the Angelos law firm. He also asked that the firm brief him on the status and outlook of a class-action lawsuit that had been filed against it. Rosenberg argued that Peter Angelos, as the sole owner of the law firm, “has the absolute right to the documents, records, and information that I have requested.”

Louis Angelos, left, arrived at Baltimore County Circuit Court with his attorney, Jeffrey E. Nusinov, right, on Oct. 27, 2022.

Nusinov disagreed, saying in his letter that Rosenberg did not have the right to “rummage around in the Angelos firm’s files.” He argued that Truffer had said at the October hearing that Louis Angelos “clearly” had transferred the firm to himself, and whether that transaction was valid had yet to be determined.

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He cited Rosenberg Martin’s representation of a company, Bestwall, whose products previously contained asbestos and which filed for bankruptcy in 2017 with about 62,000 asbestos claims pending against it.

With the Bestwall case ongoing and far from resolution, giving Rosenberg access to the Angelos firm’s internal information is “shocking and outrageous,” Nusinov wrote.

In that case, Rosenberg Martin attorneys accused the Angelos firm of failing to fully disclose evidence. According to a document filed in the Bestwall case, some plaintiffs didn’t acknowledge their exposures to other companies’ asbestos-containing products.

“As a result, Bestwall was forced to pay more than if the plaintiffs’ full exposure histories had been disclosed,” its attorneys argued.

Giving Rosenberg access to Angelos law firm records now “raises serious questions of confidentiality,” Nusinov wrote in a motion to disqualify Rosenberg.

“Mr. Angelos is entitled to have a lawyer who is 100 percent committed to preserving the law firm’s privileged, confidential and proprietary information. Mr. Rosenberg’s firm represents another client that is every bit as much committed to piercing that veil,” Nusinov wrote. “The risk that information will be compromised is unacceptably high.”

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Peter Angelos “certainly has no interest in being represented by an attorney whose decision-making may be affected by his loyalty to Bestwall or his firm’s financial interest in representing Bestwall,” Nusinov wrote.

Rosenberg’s law firm was also on the other side of a case against the Angelos firm that involved Hale, the founder of 1st Mariner Bank, owner of the Baltimore Blast indoor soccer team and a real estate developer. Hale had sued the Rosenberg firm and one of its partners, Stanley Fine, and was represented by Jay Miller, who Nusinov identified as the Angelos law firm’s general counsel.

The firm’s involvement in that case was approved by Louis Angelos, Nusinov said in his motion.

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“Mr. Fine and Mr. Rosenberg have a close, personal relationship and Mr. Rosenberg took the litigation as a personal attack,” Nusinov wrote.

Nusinov went on to say that Rosenberg told him “he cannot even bear to sit in the same room with Jay Miller.”

Rosenberg was unwilling to meet with Miller, “saying something to the effect of, ‘I’m not going to meet with that [expletive], he sued this firm,’” Nusinov said in his motion.

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Miller, though, is among the people closest to Peter Angelos and most familiar with his wishes for his law firm, Nusinov wrote.

Peter Angelos “has no assurance that Mr. Rosenberg’s personal animosity toward the law firm, Mr. Miller and Lou Angelos will not taint his representation,” Nusinov wrote.

Meanwhile, in another filing, the Angelos law firm has asked to intervene in the case because of “significant concerns” over Rosenberg’s request to access its records. Rosenberg argued against that in another filing, in part because he said the law firm’s interests are adequately represented by existing parties, including the person he speaks for.

“The Law Firm’s interest are one and the same as those of its sole owner, Mr. Angelos,” Rosenberg wrote. “The Law Firm has made no showing, let alone a compelling one, as to why its interests are not adequately represented by him.”


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