His wealth mostly out of reach of 3 ex-patients, Solomon says


Dr. Neil Solomon may be worth more than $2 million, but he has told a federal bankruptcy judge that only $44,000 of that would be subject to claims by three former patients.

The women sued in Baltimore Circuit Court in July and August, seeking $140 million in damages from Dr. Solomon for allegedly luring them into sexual relationships. The court sealed their names to protect their privacy.

Action on the suits stopped when he filed for bankruptcy last month. At the time, Dr. Solomon, 61, said he had sought financial protection to save his family "from a fate they cannot afford and do not deserve."

In a financial statement filed last week in federal court in Baltimore, the former Maryland health secretary listed all but $44,144 of his assets as retirement funds or property held jointly with his wife, and therefore off-limits to creditors.

Dr. Solomon filed a plan proposing that he not be required to sell nonexempt assets. Instead, he proposes to pay a bankruptcy trustee $750 a month, roughly the difference between his monthly income of $15,446 and expenses of $14,643. That money could be used to pay creditors.

The payments typically would be made for three years, but Dr. Solomon has offered to make them for five years, for a total of $45,000.

The only creditors listed are the three former patients who have sued and the first plaintiff's husband, who joined his wife's suit.

E. Dale Adkins III, Dr. Solomon's attorney, was unavailable for comment on the plan.

Joanne L. Suder, the plaintiffs' attorney, said they will challenge Dr. Solomon's filing but "haven't decided at this point . . . what form our challenges will take."

Harvey Lebowitz, a federal bankruptcy judge in Maryland until his retirement in 1982, said, "There are certain pensions, profit-sharing and other retirement-type vehicles that are exempt from reach by creditors."

Similarly property held jointly by married people as "tenants by the entirety" is out of reach.

Another bankruptcy expert, who asked not to be identified, said that what is unusual in this case is "how much he [Solomon] had and how little of it appears to be available for creditors. And what is not known is whether or not he'll get away with that."

Dr. Solomon earned $538,000 in salary in 1992, plus $118,000 from publishing and consulting interests, according to his statement. He also received $25,123 in state pension funds in the year that ended Sept. 20, 1993.

He has made gifts to family members totaling about $42,000 since last November and has paid about $71,000 to creditors, including insurance companies, banks and the Internal Revenue Service.

Dr. Solomon lists assets of $2,184,645, including his Mount Washington home, valued at $323,510, money market funds worth $228,615, retirement and pension funds worth almost $1.5 million, and stocks and bonds worth nearly $103,000.

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