Connolly, Geaney, Ablitt & Willard spent years helping banks foreclose on homeowners throughout the state of Massachusetts. Now, the Woburn-based law firm is finding out what it feels like to be on the other end, according to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
According to documents from the firm, there were 150 people employed earlier this year and the firm reportedly billed at least $100,000 per day.
The firm has been bouncing checks lately and forensic accountants have been examining the firm’s books. With all of this going on, the firm is being evicted from his offices as it has failed to pay insurance premiums for employees and has had to lay off most of its lawyers and paralegals.
Later this year, a whistleblower lawsuit against the firm in Florida is set to go to trial.
The problems started to come to the surface when the chief financial officer of the firm, Robert F. Feige, left his post. Feige left the firm in February and his past is littered with allegations of financial misdeeds.
The Friday before Memorial Day marked the third round of layoffs at the firm in the last four months. In this round, 40 people lost their jobs at the Woburn, West Palm Beach, Florida and Puerto Rico offices.
“Every day it was the same. We had no idea what direction the firm was going,” said Mark S. Barbuto, a paralegal started working at the firm in November of 2013. “There were people crying. There were people who had health issues who weren’t going to have health insurance anymore. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The very first sign of trouble occurred on February 28 when employees did not receive their paychecks.
“I find it hard to believe that we still have not received any official notification or explanation from the management team in our MA office regarding this most serious situation,” Dennis Green, a litigation paralegal in the firm’s Florida office, wrote in an email sent to his co-workers that morning.
Not much later the same day, Steven A. Ablitt sent out an email to the firm stating that Feige was “no longer with the firm and that there are forensic accountants in the office.”
The office building where the law firm operates was sold during an auction in March. It was purchased by Joseph A. and Ronald A. Martignetti.
“They have not paid any rent, and we, of course, are evicting them,” Ronald Martignetti said. “We have eviction proceedings going on right now in Woburn District Court to remove them from that building.”
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