Tag Archives: attorney

Disbarred Flushing attorney accused of stealing $34K in estate funds

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A Flushing man found himself on the wrong side of the law after the disbarred attorney stole $34,000 in legal expenses while handling an estate intended for a convent, prosecutors said.

John Giordanella, 48, was arraigned last week in Queens Criminal Court, where he was charged with third-degree grand larceny and a violation of the judiciary law (practice of law by an attorney who has been disbarred, suspended or convicted of a felony), according to the Queens district attorney’s office.

Giordanella practiced law from 1990 until his disbarment on March 13, 2007, prosecutors said. But he allegedly not only continued to represent himself as a licensed attorney, but is also accused of stealing when he was hired by a Kew Gardens Hills couple to handle the estate of their deceased friend.

The couple did not know Giordanella was disbarred, and entrusted him to handle the estate, valued at $130,000. According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, any money left over after expenses were to be given to a convent.

Giordanella was given six checks, totaling $34,247, for expenses, such as securing bonds, a probate “fast track” fee and estate taxes, between February 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012. Giordanella also asked for an additional $20,000 to secure a bond and $6,247 to pay estate taxes. The six checks were allegedly deposited into the accounts of Giordanella and his wife.

According to the district attorney’s office, the will did not require the filing of a New York State estate tax return since the value of the estate did not exceed $1 million. Also, there were no fees required and no bonds requested, and the only activity for the will was its filing in April 2014.

Giordanella faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court on May 6.

Anyone who may have been a victim or knows someone who may have been a victim of Giordanella should contact the Queens District Attorney’s Office at 718-286-5957.


Council District 24 contender Alex Blishteyn is the ‘citizen candidate’

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Alex Blishteyn

A Fresh Meadows attorney wants to breathe life back into stunted small businesses in his district.

Alex Blishteyn, a Republican candidate for City Council, said he has seen too many shops close their shutters in the 23 years he has lived in District 24.

“I remember that area when small businesses were flourishing,” he said. “You could walk up Kissena Boulevard and people would be going in and out of stores.”

Now, Blishteyn said, local stores are being “overregulated and overburdened” with city taxes and regulations.

“They’re not being allowed to operate,” he said. “That’s why we’re seeing a lot of them shut down. They’re being nickel-and-dimed to death.”

The first-time candidate has raised about $16,000 so far in his bid to replace Councilmember James Gennaro, who is stepping down after reaching his term limit. District 24 stretches from Fresh Meadows to Jamaica.

“I think that the community is not well represented,” said Blishteyn, 35. “We need a voice for the people who actually live in that area, one who actually represents the residents of the area. I haven’t found that to be the case.”

Blishteyn, who calls himself the “citizen candidate,” said education is at the top of his agenda. He added that instituting a voucher program and tax credits for private school tuition would give parents more school choices for their children.

“I’ve never been a political activist,” Blishteyn said. “I’m the regular guy who really has had enough with what’s happening with our city.”

Blishteyn is supported by past and present GOP lawmakers including Councilmember Eric Ulrich and former Congressmember Bob Turner.

Other candidates in the District 24 race include former Assemblymember Rory Lancman, who leads in fundraising, Andrea Veras and Mujib Rahman.