Dennis D’Alessandro, Dewey & LeBoeuf’s former chief operating officer, is challenging a trustee who is seeking about $9.3 million that Dewey paid to D’Alessandro before the law firm collapsed.
Alan Jacobs, the liquidating trustee of Dewey, sued D’Alessandro in March, claiming an employment contract providing D’Alessandro with a fixed salary, fixed bonuses, discretionary bonuses and trust payments was “an astronomically generous arrangement for a law firm administrator.” The complaint said the transfers to D’Alessandro were not in good faith, as they were made by an insolvent partnership to an officer or director.
But D’Alessandro said in his response Friday the trustee’s claims depend on the “faulty premise” that he was an insider at Dewey. D’Alessandro was not an insider and “had no substantial control over the firm’s corporate policies or decision making,” said his attorneys, Barry Pollack and Charles McAleer, members of Miller & Chevalier.
“The trustee has no legal basis for clawing back compensation for Mr. D’Alessandro, who was not a partner at the firm and who has not been accused of doing anything wrong,” Pollack said in an interview.
D’Alessandro, unlike many of his former Dewey colleagues, was not criminally charged by the Manhattan district attorney, nor was he named as a defendant in an SEC civil fraud suit against firm leaders. D’Alessandro, retired and living in Long Island, could possibly testify at the trial of former chairman Steven Davis, former executive director Stephen DiCarmine, former CFO Joel Sanders and onetime client relations manager Zachary Warren.
Howard Ressler, a partner at Diamond McCarthy who represents the trustee, did not return a call seeking comment.