U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Charles Rendlen III issued a bench warrant for the owner of a bankruptcy firm and a suspended lawyer, saying it was the only way to force them to repay clients whom they had bilked.
At the end of the blistering nine-page bench warrent, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Charles Rendlen III stayed the warrant’s effect for a week to give one last chance to Critique Services LLC owner Beverly Holmes Diltz and lawyer James C. Robinson.
Rendlen wrote that Diltz and Robinson had ignored an April 21 order to return a $635 fee to former clients.
Given their “long history of refusing to obey Court orders and employing contempt as a litigation strategy … “a politely insistent request or a ‘strongly worded’ directive” was unlikely to work, he wrote.
He continued: “Monetary sanctions mean nothing to persons who have no intent to ever pay them. Therefore, the Court must find some other mechanism for obtaining obedience.”
“The Court recognizes a metaphorical middle finger when it is given one, and it is not obligated to feign hope that a lesser form of coercion will garner obedience from Robinson and Critique Services LLC,” the order says.
Rendlen ordered the pair held for 30 days or until the money is paid. But he also said that the U.S. Marshals “have better things to be doing with their valuable time,” and wrote that the warrant would become effective on Friday and be delivered to the marshals for “execution” if Diltz and Robinson didn’t heed his warning.
Rendlen has repeatedly blasted the St. Louis company and lawyers who work for it, saying they have targeted “primarily working poor, minority citizens of St. Louis for almost two decades.”
Last year, the Missouri Attorney General’s office sued Critique Services to shut it down.
In a consent judgment filed in March and amended earlier this month, Diltz admitted that the company did not perform as advertised for some clients, and he agreed to close and agreed to repay $90,504 to 167 people, as well as $25,000 in civil penalties to Missouri and $10,000 to the bankruptcy court.