Madoff trustee, California AG to hold talks on lawsuit

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 18, 2012 6:32 PM
Madoff trustee, California AG to hold talks on lawsuit

(Reuters) - A mediator will try to resolve a dispute between the trustee liquidating Bernard Madoff's firm and California's attorney general over the latter's $270 million lawsuit concerning a Beverly Hills money manager linked to Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

The trustee, Irving Picard, sued in January to stop Attorney General Kamala Harris from pursuing her case against the widow of Stanley Chais to recover Madoff-related fees the money manager supposedly collected between 1995 and 2008.

Harris claimed she had power under state law to seek money that Chais, a longtime Madoff friend who died at age 84 in 2010, had collected improperly.

Picard countered that the lawsuit interfered with his exclusive right to recover money for Madoff victims.

The lawsuit had first been brought by Harris' predecessor Jerry Brown, now California's governor.

In an order issued after a Wednesday court hearing, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland in Manhattan said both sides agreed to the mediation and directed them to find a mediator within seven days.

Picard has largely been successful in stopping Madoff victims from pursuing their own cases, although some litigation is still pending.

Madoff, 74, is serving a 150-year prison sentence for running what prosecutors called a $64.8 billion Ponzi scheme.

The case against Harris and others is Picard v. Hall et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-01001. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Andre Grenon)