Friday, November 6, 2015

Editors bury legal problems of a prominent Cliffs lawyer

A display of fall colors in Hackensack's Fairmount section.


Prosecutors say an Englewood Cliffs woman defrauded two Manhattan law firms where she was a partner out of $7.8 million, The Record reports today.

But in her defense, her lawyer blames the woman's husband, claiming he was leading a "dual life that included having a secret second family, and being a drug trafficker instead of a legitimate businessman."

Are you looking for the story on Page 1? 

You won't find it there, even though a lurid love-triangle murder trial and other sensational news are routinely splashed across the front page.

No. Something or someone must have told Editor Martin Gottlieb to bury the story about indicted lawyer Keila Ravelo, 50, of Englewood Cliffs.

So, readers might be surprised to find it leading today's Business page, way back in the Local news section (L-7).

Funny business

Calling this business news isn't sound journalism; it's funny business.

Yes. Lawyers seem to be a protected class at North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record, where the litigious general counsel is Jennifer A. Borg, daughter of Chairman Malcolm A. Borg and big sister of Publisher Stephen A. Borg.

Stories about lawyers are routinely censored, especially when it come to reporting on fees of hundreds of dollars an hour that restrict access to the courts.

Story after story on multi-million dollar lawsuit settlements or jury awards carefully omit the hefty cut the judges  steer to the lawyers. 

And is there any move to rein in lawyers' hourly fees? How much pro bono work do wealthy lawyers really do? Did Governor Christie close all the legal aid offices in the Garden State?

Readers don't have a clue.

GOP bully

Gottlieb leads the paper today with Christie's presidential campaign -- it's on life support (A-1).

The GOP bully is a lawyer who often reminds us he once was a federal prosecutor, but he worries more about drug addicts than the New Jersey middle class he has savaged since taking office in early 2010.

And Gottlieb can't help politicizing a story on "smart gun technology" with a headline declaring:


Back away from
tough N.J. stance

I guess smart guns will save only Democratic lives.

Hackensack news

In Local today, the only news about Hackensack is a collision between two cars that caused minor injuries (L-1). 

Gee whiz. What a great photo. Would you look at the guy on the gurney.

Drive and eat

When readers in Hackensack and other central Bergen County towns see the address of the restaurant being reviewed today, they'll likely turn the page (BL-14).

Given the hassles of driving in North Jersey, where even a routine trip can turn into a nightmare, who wants to bumper-to-bumper during the rush hour to have dinner at the Craft House or any other restaurant in Suffern, N.Y.?

This is yet another appraisal from Staff Writer Elisa Ung, who knocks herself out exploring food on the fringes of the circulation area.

Keep in mind The Record picks up her hefty tabs, including all of those artery clogging dishes she seems to love, and reimburses her for mileage.


  1. I received this comment from a lawyer:

    Victor -read your comment about the lawyer who lives in Englewood Cliffs and the way the Record covered it. I am a lawyer as you know but that fact notwithstanding, I do know think that the story warranted any coverage. The woman may have lived in Englewood Cliffs but the fraud was committed in New York to New York law firms. I doubt that anyone in the area knows or cares who she is. I would be no different if a person from Teaneck would be charged with robbing a store in Brooklyn and killing someone. The scam in which she was involved is quite common. There are now litigation support teams which help large law firms collect and index data on big cases. The firms farm out the work and bill the client. Often lawyers in the spending firm have a direct or indirect interest in these outside firms and pad or falsify the bills. This is what happened here. I doubt that the New Jersey law journal will even mention it as this is a New York story. By the way I am still waiting for the town by town breakdowns of the assembly and freeholder races in the area. they are on the internet but it is easier to compare in print -- keep up the good work,

    1. Thanks. But when a local person does something, no matter how far away from North Jersey, that is "news" for The Record. Think of all the actors, singers, authors whom the paper covers even though they moved away from Bergen County decades ago.

      Of course, what the paper hasn't done in recent years is cover towns like Hackensack the way a local daily should, and the lazy, burned-out editors are to blame.


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