Judge Appoints Attorney to Represent Orioles Owner Peter Angelos' Interests;  Georgia, Louis Angelos appear in court – Baltimore Sun

A judge on Thursday appointed an attorney to represent the interests of Peter Angelos, who is incapacitated by illness as his family fights for control of his assets, including his legendary law firm and the Baltimore Orioles.

Baltimore County District Judge Keith R. Truffer also sought to sidestep a threat from Wells Fargo to freeze the accounts of the Angelos Law Firm over the family dispute over ownership and management of the law firm known for acting on behalf of asbestos and tobacco act that attracts billions of dollars from victims.

But the judge postponed until another day a decision on other requests from the feuding family's lawyers, including whether the law firm should be placed under a temporary conservatorship.

Truffer appointed Benjamin Rosenberg, founder and chairman of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg in Baltimore, to represent Angelos in the lawsuit pitting his wife Georgia and older son John, the Orioles chairman and CEO, against younger son Louis.

Georgia Angelos arrives in Baltimore County Circuit Court on Thursday for a hearing alongside attorney Steve Silverman over who should control the assets of her incapacitated husband, Orioles owner Peter Angelos.

Georgia Angelos, 80, waited in the courthouse hallway expecting to be summoned to the hearing, but Truffer concluded it was unnecessary. Louis Angelos, 53, who ran his father's law firm, sat in the courtroom with his lawyers. John Angelos, 55, was not seen in the courtroom.

For all of Peter Angelos' prominence in legal, political, philanthropic and sporting circles, he and his family have largely avoided the spotlight in which they now find themselves.

“This family has always been a very private family,” Jeffrey E. Nusinov, representing Louis Angelos, remarked at one point during the hearing.

At issue was the fate of the Angelos Law Firm, with the dispute raising concerns at Wells Fargo, its longtime banker, about who was responsible and authorized to access funds in the firm's 11 bank accounts.

Peter Angelos, who began practicing law in the 1960s, was the firm's sole partner and shareholder for a long time. In June, Louis Angelos transferred the company to himself and signed both sides of the transaction. He argued that because of his father's disability, state law required ownership of the practice to be transferred to a qualified person, namely him because he was the only attorney in Peter Angelos' immediate family.

However, Georgia Angelos' lawyers called the transaction self-dealing and theft and filed a lawsuit against Louis Angelos in August, accusing him of his father's “financial elder abuse.”

Their lawyers argued that Louis Angelos did not have the authority to transfer the law firm even though he ran it in his father's absence.

“It's like Lamar Jackson having a great game,” said Doug Gansler, one of Georgia Angelos' lawyers, before introducing himself to the Ravens' quarterback, who then said, “I'm going to sell the team to myself now.”

“That’s not how it works,” said Gansler, a former attorney general and two-time Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

Gansler asked Truffer to place the company under guardianship until the ownership situation is resolved. He noted that despite Peter Angelos' incompetence, checks with his stamp were still being signed, including one last month for $500,000.

Nusinov argued that there was no need for a conservator since Louis Angelos had run the company for four years since his father's illness. The matter was “cobbled together,” he said, by the opposing side using the law firm as leverage in the litigation.

Louis Angelos arrives in Baltimore County Circuit Court on Thursday for a hearing over who should control the assets of his incapacitated father, Orioles owner Peter Angelos.  Louis Angelos sued his mother, Georgia Angelos, and his brother, John Angelos, in June.Louis Angelos arrives in Baltimore County Circuit Court on Thursday for a hearing over who should control the assets of his incapacitated father, Orioles owner Peter Angelos. Louis Angelos sued his mother, Georgia Angelos, and his brother, John Angelos, in June.

Georgia Angelos' lawyers had written to Wells Fargo to inform them of the legal dispute over the law firm and to inform them that she was her husband's actual representative and the only one authorized to act on his behalf.

Mary Zinsner, who represents Wells Fargo, told Truffer that the bank is neutral in the family dispute but needs clarity about who bears responsibility.

“We need to know who to turn to,” Zinsner said, especially in the event of a problem with a particular check or account.

Truffer agreed to name three people suggested by Louis Angelos who would have the authority to sign checks on the law firm's bank accounts. The signatories were not named in court after Zinsner said their release would raise security concerns.

It is unknown if Louis Angelos was one of the three. His mother's lawyers argue that he has a conflict of interest because of his lawsuit against his family members.

Louis Angelos sued his mother and brother a day after transferring the law firm to himself, saying John Angelos was trying to consolidate control of the Orioles and his father's other assets. He wants to remove her as trustee from his father's trust, into which Peter Angelos' share of the Orioles has been transferred.

The lawsuit revealed that Georgia Angelos is preparing for a future sale of the team and wants to close or sell her husband's law firm.

When Truffer appointed Rosenberg to represent Angelos, he acknowledged the central — if quiet — role the incapacitated team owner and lawyer played in the family dispute.

“Every discussion, every plea, every email deals with one asset or another of Mr. Angelos,” Truffer said. “I think it is important that Mr. Angelos be included in this case.”

According to his firm's website, Rosenberg is a longtime litigator who has served on several trial commissions. There he points out that he previously served as co-chair of the Legal Aid Bureau of the Maryland Equal Justice Council and “played a small role in ensuring that the phrase 'equal justice for all' is not an empty slogan.”

The judge also agreed to seal certain files that contained confidential financial information and details about Peter Angelos' health.

Truffer will hold another hearing on November 9 to consider a number of issues, including Georgia Angelos' motion to invalidate Louis Angelos' sale of the law firm to himself.

A trial is scheduled for July, but lawyers for the feuding family members have agreed to try mediation.

“Maybe I'm hopelessly optimistic,” Gansler told the judge, “but I think we can get there.”