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Opinion (Michael J. Mandelbrot, 25 years Asbestos Plaintiff Attorney)

It’s Official – A Mafia exists in the world of Asbestos Litigation. I know because I worked at a “Mafia” members Firm, saw the activities first hand, and have now dealt with these corrupt Fiduciaries (the “Asbestos Trust Mafia”) for over 20 years. Nothing below would be printed were it not true and supported by factual and/or documentary evidence.

The “Asbestos Trust Mafia” – The Most Corrupt Lawyers in the Country

MafiaA mafia is a type of organized crime syndicate whose primary activities are protection racketeering, the arbitration of disputes between criminals, and the organizing and oversight of illegal agreements and transactions. Mafias often engage in secondary activities such as … fraud.


This is where the corruption, fraud, double dipping, and misappropriation of Trust funds exists in Asbestos Litigation…

The Asbestos Trust Mafia

Lawyers. Fiduciaries. Frauds. 

So who makes up the Asbestos Trust Mafia? We will detail them below, but the “Godfathers” of the Asbestos Trust Mafia are 3 Individuals – 1) Steven Kazan and his partner in crime 2) David McClain, and 3) Alan Brayton. These are the “kings of corruption”, having diverted over a billion dollars to themselves and other ‘interested’ parties.  But Kazan, Brayton, and McClain could not accomplish this ‘feat’ without other Mafia members. We will detail those below.

The goal of the Asbestos Trust Mafia? Divert as much money as possible to Mafia members while harming Asbestos Trust Claimants and Future Claimants – the very individuals they are paid to ‘protect’.

Through racketeering, bad faith, and fraud, this Mafia – also Asbestos Trust Fiduciaries – control over 30 Billion Dollars in Trust Funds for victims. To date, documents, evidence, and Annual reports display approximately $1,000,000,000 dollars already misappropriated to the Asbestos Trust Mafia.

So how does the Asbestos Trust Mafia accomplish such impressive fraud? Simple – Knowingly violating the Department of Justice rules on Chapter 11 Trusts in hiring “Interested Parties” (typically former asbestos defense lawyers) and colluding with them to:

A) Allow favorable and preferential treatment to claims filed by “insiders” and member of the Asbestos Trust Mafia (i.e. Steven Kazan and Alan Brayton);

B) Conceal liability evidence of bankrupt Asbestos Companies to reduce present and future claims (by non-mafia members) with every asbestos Trust. As a result, Mafia claims receive more money and favorable treatment.

C) Conceal Fraudulent Asbestos Trust Claims filed  by Asbestos Trust Mafia members (Alan Brayton)- and even pay the claims hundreds of thousands of dollars. Attached are links to just some example of a fraudulent claim filed by Alan Brayton in which he ‘stole’ over $500,000 from the Trust –  Fraudulent Alan Brayton Default Judgement – Western Asbestos – Here, you can see Brayton is a Fiduciary (the Chairman of the Trust Advisory  Committee) of the very same Trust in which he filed the claim. Brayton – Board Member while filing fraudulent claim Fraudulent Brayton Claim – Kananian was never at Hunters Point

D) Filing Fraudulent Declarations with Courts under Penalty of Perjury –  with every Annual Report  — failing to identify payments to “Interested Parties”.  For example, since 2004 interested party and Mafia member Gary Fergus – (a 20 years asbestos defense lawyer with relationships with all Advisory Committee members) has misappropriated at least $10,000,000 personally from Asbestos Trusts, but also has assisted in diverting over $100,000,000 to other Mafia members. The D.O.J. rules on Chapter 11 Trust wholly preclude interested parties such as Gary Fergus working for Trusts. Unfortunately, Asbestos Trust Mafia Members, like Gary Fergus, are involved in every asbestos Trust. Here are the Department of  Justice Rules – Dept. of Justice Trustee Handbook – select portions

E) Divert Millions in Trust Funds to Mafia Members and interested parties who set up “fictitious businesses’ (and bill the Trust millions) to conduct ‘sham’ audits of non-Mafia members. Example – Ankura Consulting – Tom Florence – Chart of Pittsburgh Corning Fiduciary Frauds – Lies, Liars and Corrupt Lawyers

F) Influencing Judges to favor Mafia Members- Specifically ‘Judge’ Sheri Bluebond (BK-Los Angeles). Mafia members (Eve Karasik-Thorpe Trusts – effectively served as her campaign manager for her last ‘reappointment’ bid. Bluebond also simultaneously served on 5 Boards of Directors with Trust Mafia members while presiding over Mafia member Trials (of course, EVERY ruling was for the Mafia members). Improper Relationship – Karasik and Bluebond. Bluebond oversees over $500,000,000.00 in asbestos Trust funds (she ‘approved the Thorpe bankruptcies’ paying Brayton and McClain millions) and makes EVERY RULING to favor the Mafia members.

Here’s a Chart which lays out how this works:  Chart – Bluebond – Following the Money – Following the Corruption.

G) Diverting Trust Funds to Mafia members disguised as “Attorney Fees” (clearly, Mafia members are precluded from also collecting these fees by D.O.J. rules – these rules are ignored.



GODFATHERS of the “Asbestos Trust Mafia”:

  4. TOM FLORENCE  – depending on which day it is, he is either misappropriating Trust funds as a “Fiduciary”/Director for the Delaware Trusts (over 1 billion in funds) or for conducting ‘sham’ through Ankura consulting and ‘protecting’ Kazan and Brayton fraud.


1. DAN MYER – – former Asbestos Defense lawyer (C.C.R.) also precluded by D.O.J. rules from serving on Asbestos Trusts, yet he oversees (and assists in misappropriating) over $1,000,000,000.00 in Trusts funds. A walking “Pinocchio”. Conspires and colludes with the Godfathers to ensure their claims are paid, asbestos sites are concealed, and victims lose.

2. GARY FERGUS – – another former Asbestos Defense Lawyer (and a bad one at that) who took his companies (Fibreboard) into bankruptcy and then immediately began corrupting Trusts. An “interested party” violating D.O.J. rules who has personally misappropriated (stolen) at least $10,000,000.00 from Trust funds. “Hides” in Trust Annual Reports by serving as the “Attorney for the Futures Representative” — a 90 year old former Judge (Charles Renfrew) who is naive to the fraud and happy to collect his yearly stipend. Fergus should have all monies received over the last 10 years disgorged and returned to victims. A pathetic lawyer who has ‘sponged’ off of victims funds for nearly 15 years.

3. KATHLEEN CAMPBELL DAVIS – See prior Posts. Attorney/Fiduciary overseeing billions in Trust funds (Delaware Trusts, General Motors/MLC Trusts) through fraud, bad faith. Conspires and colludes regularly with the underbosses.

4. MARY ELLEN NICKEL – Executive Director of the Delaware Trusts

5. PETER D’APICE – Wholly ignores conflict of interest rules regularly to usurp millions in Trust funds through excessive Trust billing (one day, he’s a Trust lawyer), attorney fees (the next, he represents claimants), and sham audits (the next day, he oversees and review Trust claims for another Trust). A clearly despicable human being and lawyer who makes all lawyers look bad….

6. STEPHEN SNYDER – – The biggest criminal of them all. Managing Trustee of the Western Asbestos, J.T. Thorpe, Inc. Trust and the Thorpe Insulation Trust. Personally and individually responsible for misappropriating over $100,000,000.00 in Trust funds from 3 Trusts (www.wastrust;; to himself and Gary Fergus  (see above) and over a $1,000,000,000.00 to the Underbosses Kazan, McClain and Brayton. Evidence of Insider Dealing – Snyder.  This former defense lawyer (for over 20 years) took Fibreboard into bankruptcy (along with Fergus) through excessive billing. As an ‘interested’ party, should have no dealings on Trusts.

7. MICHAEL AHRENS/STEVE SACKS – These are Alan Brayton’s “underbosses” – protecting his crimes through fraud, perjury and bad faith in every instance. Paid millions of dollars to protect Brayton’s fraud. A couple of complete buffoons.


I will also be adding LOTS more documents and evidence –

I also recommend reading the following article which also details the above –

Bates-White Article_Reorganized Mess – Detailing Bankruptcy Fraud – Misappropriation of Trust Funds by Trustees/Fiduciaries/Lawyers and how it’s accomplished. Kazan. Brayton.