The Ethical Violations of Attorney Frederick Oberlander

A complaint was brought against an international real estate investment company in 2010 by lawyer Frederick Oberlander of New York. This was done for a former employee of the company. The complaint charged the firm with fraud. Projects such as the Trump SoHo hotel were developed by the firm. Oberlander alleged a Russian partner of the firm named Felix Sater had a prior criminal history that was concealed.

Since 2010, Oberlander had been involved with many proceedings associated with the initial complaint that are considered controversial. A careful examination of the proceedings, as well as articles posted on the web, show that Oberlander is not someone who can be trusted.

Court records indicate Oberlander committed many ethical violations as he performed his duties as an attorney involved with the litigation. One of the most serious violations involved Oberlander using confidential information from the criminal file of Felix Sater. A file that had been ordered sealed by a federal court. This was done because of Felix Sater's continuing and extensive cooperation with the United States government. Since Oberlander released and divulged this sealed information, he intentionally violated a court order. This has resulted in him being the subject of a court injunction focused on preventing any more dissemination of court-sealed information. This injunction was affirmed by the Second Circuit's U.S. Court of Appeals from Manhattan.

An order was issued in 2015 by the federal district court judge in charge of the litigation. This order imposed sanctions on Oberlander. The judge also struck down most of the allegations listed in Oberlander's complaint. The court ruled that Oberlander repeatedly disregarded the court's previous orders. These orders required Oberlander to disclose if the complaint he provided had information unlawfully obtained.

Oberlander is under criminal investigation because of his actions associated with the litigation. This investigation is being conducted by the Northern District of New York's U.S. Attorney's office.

Oberlander was forced to appear before the federal bar grievance committee. This was done to determine if his license to practice law should be revoked.

In August of 2018, a written order of 40 pages detailed the grievance committee's decision. It was determined that Oberlander had participated in behavior that was prejudicial to the administration of justice as well as illegal and in violation of many ethical rules. The committee also found Oberlander's illegal conduct involved disclosure of court-sealed materials as well as the making of illegal threats to reveal court-sealed information unless the defendants agreed to pay a monetary settlement. The grievance committee ordered Oberlander to be suspended for a year from practicing law because of his unethical and illegal conduct.

The actions taken by other firms have further illustrated Oberlander's character flaws. Oberlander was represented by a friend who is also an attorney named Richard Lerner. He represented Oberlander in court proceedings associated with the disclosure of court-sealed information. During this time, Lerner was a partner with the very respected law firm of Wilson Elsner. The firm did not have any desire to be associated with Oberlander. Wilson Elsner was given court approval to stop representing Oberlander. According to media reports, the firm fired Lerner when he was not willing to stop providing representation for Oberlander. A highly respected law firm refusing to represent Oberlander makes a bold statement concerning Oberlander's untrustworthy character.

This illustrates Oberlander's conduct is clearly unethical, and his character is dishonest. Once his year-long suspension is over, there will be nothing to stop him from once again practicing law. Oberlander can then engage in additional unethical and unlawful activities. A court of law will never be able to trust Frederick Oberlander.