D.A. Vance: Former Court Official And Husband Charged With Official Misconduct
JUN 17, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JUN 18, 2021
Ex-NY Court Official, Husband Must Face Condo Deal Charges
A former New York state courts director and her lawyer husband can’t escape criminal charges over legal advice that allegedly led an elderly couple to lose their investment in a $3 million penthouse apartment, a Manhattan judge ruled Friday.
District Court, S.D. New York
Supreme Court, Criminal Term, New York County
Assigned Justice: Hon. Michele Rodney
Location: 100 Centre Street, Room 1116, 11th Floor
Court Attorney: Laura Ross
Frank Esposito’s Criminal Case Docket
Melissa Ringel’s Criminal Case Docket
TRANSCRIPT OF ABOVE IMAGE:
We are respectfully at this time contacting you on behalf of our clients Mr. Frank Esposito and Mrs. Melissa Esposito, with respect to your URL posting as listed herein-below. We are making a respectful request for you to REMOVE the URL. We are not attorneys. They have a Copyright provision filed. The DMCA requires you to remove them from your website because their name or photo is being used in combination with pop-up or banner advertising. The content in the URL is also slanderous, defamatory and tortious interference.
Mr. and Mrs. Esposito were never convicted of any wrongdoing. This article appears on google search results when their clients research them. Please remove the article so they can move forward with their lives and their careers. Your help would be greatly appreciated.
We appreciate this initial opportunity to work with you and request your amicable cooperation in the resolution of this matter. Mr. & Mrs. Esposito have expressed interest in retaining their attorneys to file action if this cannot be resolved cordially and will seek monetary damages which could include legal fees, court costs, and punitive damages of up to two million dollars. THAT IS NOT THEIR INTENT AT THIS TIME.
We are sure, however, that you also understand Mr. & Mrs. Esposito have told us that they believe, on their own behalf, wish to zealously protect and preserve their reputation. Therefore we are making the request for your amicable assistance as Mr. & Mrs. Esposito believe it is not your intent to cause them any harm.
Govern yourself accordingly,
Copyright Notice USA
© Frank Esposito. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Frank Esposito AND/OR OTHER CORPORATIONS/OR ANY AFFILIATED COMPANIES AND CONTENT, INCLUDING BY FRAMING, PHOTOS, SOCIAL MEDIA, INTERNET ADVERTISING OR SIMILAR MEANS IS PROHIBITED WITHOUT THE PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT OF Frank Esposito.
Copyright Notice USA
© Melissa Esposito. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Melissa Esposito AND/OR OTHER CORPORATIONS/OR ANY AFFILIATED COMPANIES AND CONTENT, INCLUDING BY FRAMING, PHOTOS, SOCIAL MEDIA, INTERNET ADVERTISING OR SIMILAR MEANS IS PROHIBITED WITHOUT THE PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT OF Melissa Esposito.
BUSINESS IMAGE LIFT.
Cyber Investigation Unit
Nothing contained in this communication should be construed as the provision of any legal advice, or legal action. Further, nothing contained herein should be construed that Business Image Lift or its employees are attorneys licensed to practice law in any state, nor is any information contained herein to be construed as legal advice, or any legal interpretation of any kind. Confidentiality Notice: The information in this e-mail transmission and its attachments is confidential, and/or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient or an agent responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you must not read, use or disseminate the information. If you have received this communication in error please send it back to me.
Knopf v. Esposito, 2021 N.Y. Slip Op. 50168 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2021)
“This court is obliged to take very seriously the allegations of the Knopfs’ complaint in this action, and the evidence the Knopfs have submitted in opposition to the current motions to dismiss. This court acknowledges that doing so puts itself in the awkward and uncomfortable position of scrutinizing decision-making not only of the very appellate court that sits in review of this court’s orders, but also of a federal trial court in a neighboring courthouse. But this court’s obligation to give full and fair consideration to the Knopfs’ grave allegations—and to the responsive contentions of defendants’ motions to dismiss the Knopfs’ claims at the pleading stage—demands no less.”
Ringel and Esposito’s Residence
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of MELISSA RINGEL, a former director at the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department, and her husband, FRANK ESPOSITO, a private attorney, for their roles in multimillion-dollar real estate transaction, in which RINGEL used her position, without authorization, to advise ESPOSITO’s client’s attorneys on an escrow order unrelated to her official responsibilities.
Their conduct allowed the client to sell the property and pay the $50,000 balance to ESPOSITO’s law firm from the proceeds.
The defendants are charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment each with one count of Official Misconduct.
“As alleged, Melissa Ringel violated her oath as an official of the court when she brazenly circumvented the rules to assist her husband, Frank Esposito, and his client, during the sale of a multimillion-dollar penthouse near Central Park.”
said District Attorney Vance.
“This conduct erodes the credibility of the profession and undermines principles of fairness and impartiality in our courts.”
According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, in January 2016, RINGEL served as director of the Pre-Argument Conference Program at the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department (“First Department”).
On January 11, 2016, her husband, ESPOSITO, was retained by a client with a pending civil matter involving the sale of a multimillion-dollar Lenox Hill penthouse before the First Department.
In October 2015, the First Department ordered that if sold, the proceeds of the 67th Street property must be placed in escrow, pending further decision by the court.
Subsequently, in November and December, the court issued additional orders related to the property without specifically addressing whether the proceeds still needed to be placed in escrow if sold.
Aware that the pending buyer, a property developer, was unwilling to complete the purchase of the penthouse without specific court approval, ESPOSITO discussed the court orders with RINGEL and arranged for his client’s attorneys to speak to her at the First Department.
On January 12, 2016, at the client’s direction, the client’s attorneys called RINGEL at work to ask her whether the escrow order was still in effect.
“The Knopfs’ first cause of action as against Akerman relies largely not on allegations that he made affirmatively false statements, but that he withheld material information from the Knopfs in the course of their action against Sanford. An attorney’s failure to provide an opposing party in pending litigation with information the attorney had a duty to disclose gives rise to a § 487 claim.“
RINGEL, who was aware that the case was not in her program’s purview and was entirely unrelated to her authorized responsibilities, engaged in a conversation with the client’s real estate attorney and purported to be acting within the scope of her authority.
Despite knowing she was in direct violation of multiple court rules, RINGEL gave the client’s attorneys her opinion that the escrow order was no longer in effect.
As a result, the client was able to sell the property, and under the agreement, paid $50,000 of the proceeds to ESPOSITO’s law firm, which was the balance owed for retaining ESPOSITO’s services.
In 2017, the Office of Court Administration Inspector General’s Office launched an investigation into the incident and issued a report with its finding which was shared with the District Attorney’s Office.
RINGEL was forced to resign from the First Department in April 2018.
Assistant D.A.s Daniel Passeser and Aaron Ginandes are handling the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Julio Cuevas, Jr., Deputy Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau, and Steve Pilnyak, Principal Deputy Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau, and Julieta V. Lozano, Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau, and Gloria Garcia, Deputy Chief of the Investigation Division, and Executive Assistant D.A. Christopher Conroy, Chief of the Investigation Division. Paralegal Elizabeth Kolle and Investigative Analyst Nikita Datta also assisted with the case.
District Attorney Vance thanked the Office of Court Administration Inspector General’s Office for their assistance.
About Frank Esposito (Linkedin)
Frank sits on the Boards of some of the fastest growing companies in America. One company increased its gross revenues from approximately $450mm to over $1bn during his four years as a Director. Another, in the Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality sector, recently completed a $200mm acquisition that raised audited shareholder equity to $270mm. He has represented Fortune 500 companies and counseled newly formed technology, media and entertainment companies, offering insight into the inner workings of some of the most successful corporations in America. He routinely represents the interests of ultra high net worth individuals in relation to their personal dealings and business opportunities.
Frank began his legal career as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, representing the Mayor and other high level officials in litigation centering on the policies and practices of NYC.
Frank left the Corporation Counsel’s Office for the private sector, continuing his representation of Fortune 500 companies with a noted international law firm.
In 2010 he realized that the same quality legal representation provided to corporations with extensive legal budgets should be made available to small and mid-size companies unable to allocate millions of dollars to attorney fees but seeking substantial revenue growth.
He formed Esposito Partners to provide large firm caliber services with billing intended to assist in the development of his clients.
Frank speaks on topics from nano-technology to business pragmatism and its relation to growth. Knowledge gained during discussions have lead to longstanding and rewarding relationships.