Anchin Facing Another Lawsuit for Mismanaging Finances

New York-based Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP (FY11 net revenue of $92 million), the firm that lost a $51 million lawsuit for mishandling the fortune of crime writer Patricia Cornwell, is being sued again.

Christine Wolf, former wife of “Law & Order” producer Dick Wolf, contends that the firm, Ira Yohalem and Evan Snapper charged $290,000 in excess fees, Courthouse News Service reports. She filed a $5 million lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court.

“Throughout her adult life, Wolf had relied upon professional advisers to manage her finances. Wolf explained to Yohalem that it was critical that she be able to rely on the honesty and integrity of Y&G,” the complaint states. Yohalem Gilman & Co., or Y&G, is Anchin’s predecessor firm. When Anchin acquired Y&G, Yohalem and Snapper became partners there. Snapper is the same Achin partner at the center of the Cornwell case.

Court papers say she paid the firm $7,000 a month to maintain her books, pay bills, sign check, create monthly reports, file taxes and provide other services. She terminated the relationship in 2010 and discovered that the firm had been billing at a far higher rate. The complaint says, “Shortly after it merged with Y&G, Anchin secretly began charging Wolf at least $10,000 per month and then increased that amount to $11,000 per month or more.”

It goes on to say, “Wolf had never been notified of any changes to the fees being charged, never received an invoice reflecting a new rate structure and never agreed to any increase. Anchin simply created an invoice, addressed it to itself, and paid it from Wolf’s bank account, which Anchin controlled,” the complaint states.

In addition, Wolf alleges that the firm gave her “disastrous” advice involving renovation of a rented home in Greenwich, Conn. The $200,000 in renovations were a violation of the lease, court papers say. She was found liable in September for $188,000 in damages and interest, the New York Daily News reported. She also had to pay $1 million in legal fees and the bills for the landlord’s lawyer. Fees are expected to amount to more than $300,000, according to court papers. She wants Anchin, Block & Anchin to pay the bill.