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Attorney testifies about dispute over Karoly will

By Len Righi, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Nov 23 2011 02:10:59 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 23 2011 02:27:19 PM CST

John Karoly

EASTON, Pa. -

The man who was named executor of Allentown malpractice attorney Peter Karoly's disputed 2006 will said he was told the will was a fake by Karoly's sister-in-law even before he saw the document.

Attorney Mark Crossley, who worked for Peter Karoly's law firm from 1995 until 2007, completed his testimony in Northampton County Court on Wednesday.

Crossley testified that he did not know about either the 2006 will or a 1985 will before the death of Peter Karoly and his wife, Lauren Angstadt, in a plane crash on Feb. 2, 2007.

Crossley said he found out about the 2006 will in a phone call from Karoly's brother, John, a couple weeks after Peter's death.

Crossley said after the phone call from John Karoly, he met with Peter Karoly's sister-in-law, Kristen Angstadt, and, "she questioned the authenticity of the will."

Crossley said he declined to be executor of Peter Karoly's multi-million dollar estate after he saw the will at the Northampton County Probate office.

Crossley testified that John Karoly told him at a later meeting that the will was found among Peter Karoly's papers in a storage facility. Crossley said John Karoly told him the delay in locating the will was caused by a snowstorm.

Under cross examination, Crossley admitted that just before Peter Karoly's death, he had considered leaving the firm because it had lost three major medical malpractice cases in 2006, with losses totalling $350 million.

"It was a lot of hours and little return," said Crossley.

After Peter Karoly's death, Crossley said he and another associate, Ed Eidelman, sought to buy the firm, but the two of them went into business together instead.

Before that, Crossley said John Karoly told him that he intended to take over the firm, fire Eidelman, but keep Crossley.

John Karoly is now in federal prison for failing to pay taxes on more than $5 million and other charges.

Peter Karoly's sisters -- Kim Luciano, Joanne Billman and Candice Pamerleau -- said the 2006 will is a forgery.

Joshua Karoly, the younger son of John Karoly, and another beneficiary said it is not.

Testimony will begin again next Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.