9/11 Law Firm Accused of Price-Gouging Sick Ground Zero Workers

Susan Edelman NY Post

A 9/11 law firm tried to take $866,414 in what a judge found “unreasonable” and improper expenses from money meant for sick Ground Zero responders, records show.

The alleged fee-gouging by Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern was halted by auditors and Manhattan federal judge Alvin Hellerstein.

The firm tried to charge its clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in copying and handling fees to transfer files to other lawyers handling their 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund claims.

The attempt came after VCF Special Master Sheila Birnbaum strictly forbid Napoli Bern to charge a dime to dump their clients on other lawyers.

John Feal, an advocate for ailing 9/11 responders, was disgusted but not surprised.

“It’s never enough for Napoli Bern,” he said. “Greed has trumped their morals and values.”

The firm, which negotiated a $700 million mass settlement between 10,000 Ground Zero workers and the city, wanted to deduct the expenses from a recent $10 million bonus payment that was part of the deal.

The firm reaped some $200 million in fees and expenses from the original settlement, and took a $250,000 fee from the bonus.

But court-appointed administrator Garretson Resolution Group questioned the additional steep expenses claimed by Napoli Bern.

Hellerstein set a hearing, but on Thursday Napoli Bern withdrew its request. The firm claimed the expenses were “allowable” but that it wanted to get the $10 million disbursed “as soon as possible.”

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