Weiner settles dispute over old law firm debts

October 03, 1991|By Brian Sullam

In an article in yesterday's editions about Arnold Weiner settling a debt to Maryland National Bank, one of his former partners was incorrectly identified. His name is H. Russell Smouse.

The Sun regrets the error.

The 1989 breakup of the law firm of Melnicove, Kaufman, Weiner and Smouse has come back to haunt Arnold Weiner, one of Baltimore's best-known lawyers.

But he said a settlement that was reached yesterday should put the firm's "ghost" to rest.

Mr. Weiner was one of the four former partners of Melnicove, Kaufman, Weiner and Smouse who had personally guaranteed loans made to the firm. When the firm was dissolved in July 1989, it still owed several lenders several million dollars.


Banks scrambled to secure their loans, and they had the guarantors -- Mr. Weiner, Robert C. Cahill Jr., Isaac Neuberger and H. Richard Smouse -- sign new agreements that called for a specific repayment schedule.

A portion of the repayments was to be made by the partners who guaranteed the loans. Another, and much larger portion, was to come from legal fees that were still owed to Melnicove. As these fees were paid, they were to be turned over to the lenders.

The repayments have been slower than expected, and one lender got nervous.

Earlier this week, Maryland National Bank, which had lent the now-defunct law firm more than $3 million, filed papers in Baltimore Circuit Court alleging that Mr. Weiner owed the bank ++ $2.1 million.

The papers alleged that Mr. Weiner had personally guaranteed loans made to the firm and that he should repay the loans immediately.

Mark J. Friedman, a lawyer with Piper & Marbury, said that the confessed judgment -- which is a legal document that allows a lender to obtain an automatic lien against the borrowers' assets -- for $2,106,016.94 was filed against Mr. Weiner "as a protective measure." It also served as a means of pressuring Mr. Weiner to reach a settlement with the bank.

Mr. Weiner said yesterday that he has been able to reach an agreement with the bank and that the confessed judgment will be dismissed. Mr. Weiner declined to specify the amount of the settlement, but he said it was a fraction of the amount sought.

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