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Old April 18th 08, 04:21 AM posted to,,,nyc.politics,ny.politics
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Default Citibank Cheats Grandmaster Benko out of $70,000


In the Matter of the Estate of

Ruth V. Cardoso,

FILE NO. 2546/2002



The undersigned petitioner Paul C. Benko hereby moves for a rehearing
of the the decision of the Honorable Kristin Boothe Glen dated March
17, 2008 on the grounds that the decision by Judge Glen made numerous
findings of fact, all of which are in dispute. The decision of Judge
Glen in effect granted summary judgment to Citibank. This decision
cannot be allowed to stand because Citibank never even presented
evidence to support these claims and these are triable issues of fact.

1. The decision of Judge Glen repeatedly refers to a “Brazil Will”.
However, no such will has ever been produced in this court, not even a
photocopy thereof. All that has been produced is a letter from
somebody in Brazil stating that there was such a will. The letter is
not written in English. It is written in Portuguese. No document
signed by the deceased, Ruth V. Cardoso, has been produced. Thus, we
cannot even examine a photocopy of the supposed will to see if it
resembles the signature of Ruth V. Cardoso. Petitioner is in receipt
of a letter from one Wolfgang Roddewig, who is the Honorary Consul of
Germany to Salvador Brazil, who states that he intends to donate and
money left by the decedent to the poor people living in the slums of
Salvador Brazil. This letter was filed by the petitioner with this
Surrogates Court back in 2003 when it was received. This letter makes
it evident that Wolfgang Roddewig was not named as a beneficiary of
the supposed Brazil Will.

2. It is obvious what really happened: Under the Rules of the
Surrogate's Court of New York County (it is not clear if this is
followed in other counties as well) if a person dies leaving a will
but has no living relatives down to first cousins, then the petitioner
must search for any possible relatives and must demonstrate to the
Probate Department that all possible efforts were made to find
relatives. Petitioner must file an affidavit and other evidence
concerning the efforts that were made to find these relatives.

3. Based upon this rule, Petitioner was instructed by Tim
Amerist,Clerk of Probate Department, that he must contact the cemetery
where the deceased was buried and find out who buried her and if that
person knew of any relatives of the deceased.

4. The Deceased, Ruth V. Cardoso, was buried in the German Cemetery in
Salvador Brazil next to her mother, who had died a few years earlier.
This was because her mother was a German National. Petitioner,
following the instructions of the Probate Department of this Honorable
Court, accordingly contacted the German Cemetery and learned that the
cemetery is under the control of Wolfgang Roddewig, because he is the
Honorary Consul of Germany to Salvador Brazil. Petitioner asked Sr.
Roddewig if he knew of any relatives of Ruth V. Cardoso, because this
information was needed to probate her estate. Sr. Roddewig replied
that she had left no relatives nor any money in Brazil.

5. We now know what happened next. Upon learning through this inquiry
that Ruth V. Cardoso had left some money in Citibank New York, he then
ran down to the local Widow's and Orphan's Court in Salvador Brazil
and got himself appointed as the executor of her estate. He then
contacted the local branches of Citibank which has two offices in
Salvador Brazil and demanded that the money be paid to him.

6. We know that this is what happened because as the court notes
Wolfgang Roddewig says that he was appointed in May 2003. Ruth V.
Cardoso died on February 11, 2000. So, Sr. Roddewig waited more than
three years after Ruth Cardoso had died before approaching the court
in Brazil. In short, this was an obvious scam.

7. Meanwhile, Petitioners was going through the lengthy and burdensome
proceedings required by the rules of the New York Surrogates Court to
“prove” the will. This involved bringing in all the witnesses to the
signing of the will to testify before Mr. John Reddy, Counsel for the
Public Administrator. Petitioner also published four required notices
in the New York Law Journal in October and November 2003 (at a cost of
$2700) and then a hearing was held in New York Surrogates Court in
December 2003 in which the Public Administrator requested to take
depositions of the witnesses. Unfortunately, it took Mr. Reddy seven
months to get around to taking the depositions and writing his report.

8. All this time that Petitioner was going though these proceedings in
New York, Wolfgang Roddewig down in Brazil was writing letters to
Citibank demanding that the money be paid to him. He did not have to
produce a will, much less prove it, and indeed until this date no will
has been produced. We only know what the will is said to contain. It
is said that under the supposed will Ruth V. Cardoso gave certain
articles of furniture and jewelry to various friends and neighbors in
Salvador Brazil. No money was given under this supposed will.

9. It is apparent that when the required notices were published in the
New York Law Journal in October and November 2003, Citibank simply
overlooked and missed those notices. Citibank still had the money as
late as May 2004. They had not given it to Wolfgang Roddewig yet.
Petitioner knows this because he regularly visited the office of the
Citibank Account Executive who was handling the Ruth Cardoso Account,
who was Eric Mark of the 120 Broadway Branch. Incidentally, Mr. Mark
still works at that branch and still sits at the same desk. Each time
petitioner visited Mr. Mark to inform him of the latest developments
in the case, Mr. Mark assured him that the money would not be moved
out of the account without an order of the New York Surrogates Court.

10. Thus, Petitioner was shocked when he finally obtained the required
court order in July 2004 and provided it to Mr. Mark and Mr. Mark
discovered that only a few weeks earlier the money had been moved out
of the Ruth V. Cardoso account without notice to Mr. Mark.

11. What happened is an obvious failure in the internal security
system of Citibank. Citibank has offices all over the world and
thousands of employees. It has become clear that the employees often
do not talk to each other. Eric Mark probably only talks to his own
supervisor. The people working in the Citibank Offices in Salvador
Brazil probably only talk to their supervisors. I have learned that it
was because Ruth Cardoso used a Brazil address even though she lived
six month of every year in New Jersey that the Foreign Department of
Citibank took over the Ruth Cardoso account without informing the
account executive, who was Eric Mark.

12. In other words CITIBANK MADE A MISTAKE.

13. Now, rather than admit that is was due to a bank error or a
failure of the internal security systems of Citibank that this all
happened, they come to this court claiming that they did the right
thing. However, they have produced no evidence in support of their
claims. They have not even submitted documents from the Widows and
Orphans Court of Brazil. We are told just to trust them that there is
such a court, that it has jurisdiction, that there is another will and
so on. The only presentation made by Citibank was verbal at the oral
argument that took place before this court in May 2003. During that
oral argument, the representative of Citibank made statements which I
know to be untrue. Also, note that Citibank has been silent on the
subjects of how much money they paid, when they paid it and to whom. I
have learned from other outside sources that they paid the money to
Wolfgang Roddewig in May or June 2004. Citibank has been completely
stonewalling on this subject.

14. If the present decision is allowed to stand, all of the time
honored procedures followed by the New Yorks Surrogates Court will
have to be changed. This means that someone can come in years later
and claim that there was a will in some other country previously
unknown and everything will have to be undone. This is the reason that
notices were required to be published in the New York Law Journal, so
as to stop the shenanigan performed by Wolfgang Roddewig. The decision
of this court makes no mention of the fact that notices were published
in the New York Law Journal and that Citibank did not respond to those
notices. Once they failed to appear, that should have ended the case.
Instead, Citibank filed nothing and provided no information until May
2006 when petitioner filed his motion for summary judgment.

WHEREFORE, for all of the reasons set forth above, this petition for a
rehearing should be granted and the order f this court dated March 17,
2008 should be set aside and reversed.

Pal C. Benko
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