Fmr. Northampton Co. public defender sued by former client
Updated On: Nov 13 2012 11:54:45 AM CST
A private client of indicted former Northampton County solicitor and public defender Anthony J. Martino is suing Martino and Martino's old law firm to recover $125,000.
Fairfield Development and Richard Bartolacci, of 3864 Courtney St., Hanover Twp., Northampton Co., filed a civil suit late Friday afternoon in Northampton County Court against Martino and his former law partners, David A. Martino and Ronald J. Karasek, whose business address is 641 Market St., Bangor, Northampton Co.
In late October, Anthony J. Martino was accused in a 16-count grand jury criminal indictment of stealing more than $235,000 from some of his private clients, including Fairfield Development and Bartolacci. Martino allegedly used the money he took to cover up the fact that he skimmed money from an estate he was administering, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said. His former partners have nothing to do with the case.
The civil suit, however, seeks to hold David A. Martino and Ronald J. Karasek liable to pay back the $125,000, because, as Anthony J. Martino's partners, they were trustees of the fund, and that they were negligent in watching over the money.
On April 28, 2006, Anthony J. Martino was representing Fairfield and Bartolacci when he won a $75,000 verdict against Mary Ellen Racz, and Martino promised to put the money in a trust for Fairfield, according to the suit.
On Aug. 1 of this year, however, Karasek informed Fairfield Development that Anthony J. Martino took all of the money from the trust on April 2, 2009, by writing a check payable to "Fairfield Associates or Bearer," according to the suit.
Bartolacci said in the suit that in late September or early October of last year, Anthony J. Martino asked him for a $100,000 loan and was given $50,000. Martino put the money into one of the law firm's accounts, after promising to pay back Bartolacci "after the holidays," although he never did, according to the suit.
Martino left the law firm sometime in July or August of this year, according to the suit.
Fairfield and Bartolacci claim that Martino and his former partners should have to pay back the $75,000 judgment and $50,000 loan with interest because they were all trustees of the money.
The suit charges that David A. Martino and Karasek were negligent with the $75,000 because they allowed a single individual access to the Fairfield's money and did not regularly audit the account.
As for the loan, the suit says the $50,000 used "fraud" and "abused a confidential relationship" to get the money, and that Anthony J. Martino and his former partners would be "unjustly enriched if permitted to retain it."
WFMZ.com reached out to David A. Martino and Ronald J. Karasek, but a secretary in their office said they had no comment because they had not yet seen the suit.
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