Lorraine Coyle is queen of Bronx court appointments

Courthouse Patronage: Second in a series

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Attorney Lorraine Coyle has earned more than $220,000 in fees from court appointments she’s received from Bronx judges since reforms went into effect in June 2003. Her total earnings from such positions is $430,000, according to data available from the state’s Office of Court Administration.

She’s well positioned to know judges. A former candidate for political office herself, she is the wife of longtime councilman — and one-time state attorney general — Oliver Koppell. Both are active in the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, which awards crucial endorsements to judges in elections.

From late 2008 through 2009, most of Ms. Coyle’s receivership appointments came from two judges, Edgar Walker and the now-retired Alan Saks. Both were endorsed by the Ben Franklin Club in each of their elections.

Judge Saks said Ms. Coyle was a good choice. Referring to one instance in which he’d selected Ms. Coyle as a receiver for a property in foreclosure, Judge Saks said he chose her from the list of individuals approved for such work because he had known her for many years and believed she was an excellent lawyer with great integrity.

“She’s in the real estate business and knew a lot about it so I had confidence in her ability,” he said.

On Nov. 6, 2008, he assigned Ms. Coyle as a receiver at 54 E. 167th St. Bank officials, however, said Ms. Coyle was hard to reach. Linda Mandel Gates, who represented HSBC bank, which held the mortgage on the property, complained in a court document that Ms. Coyle was for months “unresponsive to the [mortgagor’s] needs and never qualifying in her capacity as court-appointed receiver.”

Ms. Coyle eventually agreed. On Oct. 15, 2009 — almost a year after her appointment— Ms. Coyle wrote a letter to the judge.

“I have concluded that until I become learned in the obligations of a receiver I should not accept any receiverships,” stated the letter. “I will spend a fair amount of time speaking with other relatives and managing agents to get the pulse of this responsibility.”

“I am sorry that this has taken so long to resolve,” she added. 

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