Moyler civil case is delayed

Published 8:04 am Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SUFFOLK—Citing remaining paperwork and requests for information, a judge decided Tuesday to wait until Aug. 11 to hear a final accounting of estates handled by former attorney J. Edward Moyler Jr.

Moyler, who had practiced law in Franklin for 54 years, surrendered his law license last month after admitting that he took more than $4 million from clients’ estates while acting as executor of their wills. He claimed he intended to repay the money but made bad investments. Moyler declared bankruptcy in October.

He is charged criminally with nine counts of embezzling from one estate, but Tuesday’s court proceeding in Suffolk was related only to civil disposition of the estates he was handling.

Moyler also appeared in Southampton County Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon so that retired Portsmouth judge John C. Morrison Jr. could assign him a public defender in the criminal case.

In the civil case, Judge Designate William C. Andrews III had previously entered civil judgments in Southampton County Circuit Court against Moyler, including one for $4,072,363.76 to the Lucille Steinhardt estate. Three other judgments were issued — one for the estate of Mallory Kenneth Brown for $103,000, another for Robert E. Pretlow Jr. for $55,559.87 and $17,347.33 for Issac Buster Rudolph Teachy estates.

Moyler was required to appear in court Tuesday for a final review of all of his accounts. Six of those account findings — Marcella Bowers, Brown, Lenora Mosely, Pretlow, Steinhardt and Teachy — were continued until August.

Attorney Jack T. Randall was appointed administrator of the Steinhardt, Pretlow, Brown and Teachy. He was retained to represent the executors for the Bowers and Mosely estate.

Randall, appearing in court with Assistant Commissioner of Accounts E. Beale Carter Jr. and his assistant, said in Suffolk Circuit Court that the six cases are waiting on outside information in order to be finalized, including searches conducted through the Unclaimed Property Division of the Virginia Department of the Treasury.

“I realize this has been a massive undertaking to resolve all of these estates,” Andrews told the group.

In the Steinhardt case, Randall told the judge that there is a balance of $186,306.65 in the account.

Steinhardt, who died in October 2000, was from a widely known and wealthy Franklin family who ran a downtown hardware store. Since she didn’t have heirs, Steinhardt left sums of money to friends and family members who looked after her. Moyler reportedly made those payments.

After the other people listed in her will were paid, Steinhardt bequeathed one-fourth of the remaining value of the estate to Franklin Fire and Rescue, half to the University of Richmond for scholarships and one-fourth to Southampton Memorial Hospital, according to her will.

Randall asked Andrews for guidance on whether to release Steinhardt’s account information — what he considers a work in progress since they are still trying to locate assets — to Franklin City Attorney Taylor Williams.

“We do have more assets out there that we can claim,” Randall said. “We have our arms around it now.”

Andrews ruled that Randall should hold off on releasing the information to Williams.

Randall told the judge that there were boxes of paperwork to weed through in the Steinhardt case.

“This is — there’s no other way to put it — an absolute mess, Judge,” he said.

Moyler is set to appear again in Suffolk Circuit Court at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 11.

On Thursday, the court will set an arraignment date for the criminal charges.

Moyler was released on a personal-recognizance bond after his arrest last week.