Prominent Jewish Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Perjury


According to the New York Observer, Leonard Grunstein, a prominent real estate attorney known for his work on the Stuyvesant Town Peter Cooper Village case, pleaded guilty to perjury in the third degree for testimony he gave in a legal battle for control over a portfolio of 170 nursing homes. As part of the plea agreement, Mr. Grunstein, 61, a former Troutman Sanders attorney who later resigned from the New York State Bar, can never re-apply for re-admission, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

According to the Observer…

The perjury conviction stemmed from a lawsuit over a complicated real estate deal in which Mr. Grunstein partnered with one of his clients, real estate investor Ruby Schron, orchestrating a leveraged $1.3 billion buyout of a nursing home operator known as Mariner Health Services in 2004. As part of the deal, Mr. Schron, who made a $100 million loan to help finance the buyout, was entitled to acquire a controlling share of the resultant company, SV Care Holdings.

 

However, when Mr. Schron tried to the exercise the option in 2010, Mr. Grunstein and his business partner filed a civil lawsuit to stop him, claiming that Mr. Schron had never made good on the promised $100 million loan and thus was not entitled to exercise the option. Mr. Schron filed a countersuit and as part of the legal war that followed, Mr. Grunstein testified that in 2009 he told an associate the $100 million loan had never been funded, when in fact, he had never had such a conversation.

The judge in the case ruled against Mr. Grunstein and his business partner Murray Forman, finding that the loan had been funded, a decision upheld on appeal. According to Law360

A New York state appellate court affirmed a lower court’s ruling against a former Troutman Sanders LLP attorney and his business partner who insisted that real estate mogul Rubin Schron never funded $120 million in loans for a deal to buy a nursing home operator, saying the defendants’ contentions were “unavailing.” The decision comes seven months after Judge O. Peter Sherwood chucked aside arguments made by former Troutman Sanders attorney Leonard Grunstein and business partner Murray Forman that Schron never funded a $100 million loan.

In his guilty plea, Mr. Grunstein admits to having made false statements under oath.

“On January 25, 2011 I testified at a deposition in the civil matters at a law office in Manhattan. Prior to giving my testimony, I affirmed before a notary public that I would testify truthfully. During the deposition, however, I intentionally made a false statement that I did not believe to be true. I testified at that deposition that, in the summer of 2009, I told Jack Boese that the $100 million loan had not been funded, a relevant fact, when in truth I did not have that conversation with Boese,” states the guilty plea, which Mr. Grunstein read this morning in court.

According to Business Insider, back in 2009 Mr. Grunstein’s law firm Troutman Sanders stood by him when he was accused of participating in a scheme to obtain $50 million in kickbacks from a pharmaceutical vendor.

According to his wikipedia page, Mr. Grunstein is very involved in the Jewish community. In 2001, he founded Project Ezrah, where he serves as Chairman. Project Ezrah aids families suffering from the hardships of unemployment, offering job search help, financial aid and emotional support. Grunstein has also served on the boards of several other non-profit organizations, including the American Friends of the Jerusalem College of Technology and the Genesis Jerusalem Institute. He is also on the Board of the Revel Graduate School at Yeshiva University.

[NY Observer]

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