It seems to be a week for articles highlighting the more tawdry side of the plaintiff side in mass torts. In this instance, a new Forbes article (June 6, 2018) by Daniel Fisher highlights a “sinecure” obtained by an asbestos trust trustee who appears not qualified for his role. The article is insightful in some ways, but also should be taken with a grain of salt for a range of reasons. Among others, some asbestos trust trustees (e.g Eric Green) plainly are eminently qualified and were pioneers in ADR in general and in establishing asbestos trusts and their processes. On the other hand, it appears not so much can be said for a trustee who is highlighted in the article. A teaser excerpt is as follows:
“Koppelman, 78, runs CAK Entertainment, where he negotiates merchandising and finance transactions for stars like Wendy Williams, Pitbull, Nicki Minaj and Jennifer Lopez. He got his start in the entertainment industry as an Adelphi University undergraduate in the Ivy Three, a pop group whose only hit single “Yogi” made it to the Top Ten in 1960. He later became a producer of acts like Jerry Lewis and the Playboys and then rose to the top of EMI Music before branching out into other businesses, including running the eponymous businesses of Steve Madden and Martha Stewart after each was convicted of securities fraud.
Koppelman, a non-lawyer, declined to say how he came to be a member of asbestos trust boards, but he and [Perry] Weitz both sit on the board of Counsel Financial, a litigation finance firm run by former asbestos lawyer Joseph DiNardo.”