By Steve Weinstein
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In fact, a Voice investigation that year into those musty folders in Bronx civil court found that "mishandled" was another polite euphemism. In a dozen cases, Schlein had repeatedly ignored the desperate pleas of family members and loved ones. There was the construction worker, brain-damaged from an accident, whose family could never get hold of Schlein when they needed him so that they could spend money from a lawsuit settlement to buy a wheelchair and clothes. Schlein somehow let a condo the victim owned go into foreclosure and be sold at auction. At the same time, he steered legal work from the estate to his friends in the Democratic Party.
There was the elderly incapacitated woman whose taxes Schlein never got around to filing and whose valuable stock certificates were allowed to expire. And there was Mary Johnson, 87, retired Irish domestic servant and devoted Catholic, whose life savings Schlein put in an account earning 1 percent at a bank where he was a major stockholder and which he also represented. Johnson was in a nursing home on Gun Hill Road, just minutes from Schlein's home on City Island, but nurses never saw the lawyer at Mary's side. Her family's one request—that money be set aside so that her last surviving friend, another elderly retired domestic, could use a car service to visit her—went ignored as well.
When the article appeared, several lawyers commented that the court's attorney disciplinary panel would be obligated to investigate. If so, no findings were ever issued.
Stanley Schlein remains a lawyer in good standing, negotiating with governors and senators. When the Voice asked for permission to use a photograph of Schlein from a recent charitable dinner for Easter Seals, the group's vice president called to praise him. "This is the guy who makes Christmas happen," said John McGrath. "He brings the kids toys from the Yankees, raises tons of money. This is an amazing human being." Which is what the family of Mary Johnson thought as well.