Madoff Trustee Calls Lawyer’s Demand for Removal ‘Baseless, Fallacious’

The trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff’s firm said a lawyer’s attempt to remove him from his job was a “baseless, fallacious and unprofessional attack” that should be “summarily rejected” by the bankruptcy judge.

Helen Chaitman, a lawyer for Madoff investors, has been seeking to overturn trustee Irving Picard’s $220 million settlement with heirs of Norman Levy, saying Picard concealed the scale of Levy’s business with the jailed conman. Earlier this week in a court filing, she asked a judge to remove Picard from his post.

Chaitman didn’t “set forth” any basis for the trustee’s removal, a lawyer for Picard said in a letter to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland in Manhattan today.

“The attempt to remove the trustee and counsel in a reply brief is procedurally flawed and lacks any foundational support,” wrote David Sheehan of Picard’s law firm, Baker & Hostetler LLP. “Moreover, it is a baseless, fallacious and unprofessional attack upon the integrity of the trustee and his counsel.”

The effort to undo the settlement should be denied, he said.

Chaitman said Sheehan’s letter hadn’t challenged her claim that Picard withheld “material” information.

“We will be seeking the appropriate relief,” she said in a voice mail message.

The case is Securities Investor Protection Corp. v. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, 08-01789, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Linda Sandler in New York at lsandler@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net

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