On Wednesday, September 13, 2023, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court disbarred attorney Morton M. Avigdor for misappropriating funds from his attorney trust account.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Morton M. Avigdor,” with case no. 2021-07122.
In July 2021, the Grievance Committee filed a disciplinary petition against Avigdor containing four charges of professional misconduct related to his misuse of his IOLA account at TD Bank. The charges allege that in 2017, Avigdor misappropriated over $600,000 from a real estate transaction in which he represented his brother-in-law Isaac Goldbrenner in the sale of a Brooklyn property to Rabbi Meyer Landau. Avigdor deposited Landau’s $126,000 down payment into his IOLA account on March 8, 2017, but invaded those funds for personal use prior to the July 10, 2017 closing.
On July 10, Avigdor deposited $1.13 million from the Goldbrenner/Landau sales proceeds into his IOLA account. Between July 11 and July 31, 2017, Avigdor transferred $600,000 to his personal account which he then invested in his online brokerage account. By July 31, the IOLA account balance was $620,324, well below what should have been maintained for the Goldbrenner/Landau transaction.
The charges also allege that in October 2018, Avigdor issued three $13,000 checks from his IOLA account knowing there were insufficient funds. In December 2018, Avigdor invaded a $40,000 down payment he was holding in escrow for a friend’s real estate transaction.
After a hearing on July 18, 2022, which Avigdor failed to attend, the Special Referee sustained all four charges. On September 13, 2023, the Appellate Division confirmed the Referee’s report and ordered that Avigdor be disbarred effective immediately. Avigdor was directed to desist from practicing law and to comply with rules governing the conduct of disbarred attorneys.
The Disposition states:
“Under the totality of the circumstances, we find that disbarment is warranted.”
According to lawyer.com, Mr. Avigdor attended the University of Connecticut School of Law. Before his disbarment, he practiced in Brooklyn, New York. He acquired his law license in New York in 1984.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.