Lawyer charged with theft from clients

July 14, 2009 8:21:53 AM PDT
A longtime union lawyer was charged with stealing from the dancers and stagehands at the American Ballet Theatre that he was supposed to be representing. Eyewitness News has learned Leonard Leibowitz was accused of using his position of union counsel at the Independent Artists of America to embezzle the money.

He will be arraigned later today in federal court in Lower Manhattan.

Police say Leibowitz was charged with skimming money from union accounts from 1994 to 2007. Additionally, he wrote himself checks of more than $350,000 of union money. Union officials realized in 2007 that Leibowitz owed about $150,000. He asked them to "cut (him) some slack."

The Independent Artists of America is a union of some 80 dancers and stagehands employed by the American Ballet Theater, headquartered at Lincoln Center. The dancers hired Leibowitz as their attorney in 1979, and he continued with them when they formed the Independent Artists of America union.


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