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N.Y. lawyer accused of impersonating Toronto lawyer

Date: Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Author: Nick Aveling, The Toronto Star

A prominent New York lawyer walked out of a Toronto court today after posting $100,000 cash bail.

Marc Dreier, 58, has been charged with personation with intent. He was represented at today’s bail hearing by lawyer Edward Greenspan.

Greenspan said he was "pleased" his client was released on bail, but that it wasn’t unexpected.

"He was charged with a minor offence under Canadian law," Greenspan said. "The only allegation is that he impersonated another lawyer."

That lawyer is Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan counsel Michael Padfield, according to court documents. Padfield declined to comment when contacted by phone at his Toronto office.

Greenspan said his client is holding up despite spending several days in jail - and not being permitted to make a collect call to his firm or family friends in the United States.

Dreier is scheduled to fly out of Toronto tomorrow. He will stay at an address in New York city, where records show he owns property just blocks from Central Park as well as in West Hampton.

His bail was paid from Greenspan’s law firm trust account.

Dreier was arrested on Tuesday by 52 Division police after they received a call from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Spokesperson Debra Hanna said the OTTP called police after it "learned of fraudulent behaviour by an individual who was visiting our premises" at Yonge St. and Finch Ave.

Hanna said no member of her organization was believed to be involved in any fraudulent behaviour.

Toronto police spokesperson Tony Vella would not elaborate on the circumstances that led to Dreier’s arrest, but a statement released by the Fortress Credit Corp., a private equity and hedge funds company based in New York with offices in Toronto, shed further light on the incident.

“While visiting (the OTPP) offices on Tuesday afternooon a Fortress employee observed suspicious behaviour by an individual and immediately alerted (OTPP) staff,” said company spokesperson Lilly Donohue.

“We continue to co-operate with law enforcement authorities in the investigation.”

Dreier has been held at the Maplehurst Detention Centre in Milton since being taken into custody.

The website for Dreier’s firm says he is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Yale College. He founded Dreier LLP, where he’s also managing partner, in 1996 after working in senior litigation roles at two other firms.

Dreier LLP has offices in six U.S. cities including Los Angeles, and employs more than 250 attorneys.

The firm was in the news in October for representing Jay Leno in a dispute surrounding the purchase of an antique car. In May, it launched a sports marketing and consulting firm headed by former Major League Baseball executive Don Gibson.

Dreier’s expertise is in commercial litigation, an area of the law that includes intellectual property. He is qualified to practice in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

- with files from Michele Henry