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Law Firm Accused of Planting a Spy and Turning a Lawyer Against His Client

Posted Oct 21, 2010 7:11 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A lawsuit accuses a law firm representing the Archdiocese of St. Louis of getting the secretary for a rebel Catholic parish to act as a spy and manipulating the parish’s one-time lawyer to turn against his client.

The suit claims Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale and the lawyer, Roger Krasnicki, "violated every relevant ethical duty and breached virtually every rule in the Rules of Professional Conduct,” according to stories by the Belleville-News Democrat, the Courthouse News Service and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The suit was filed in Belleville, Ill., where the St. Louis-based law firm has an office.

The suit was filed by a lawyer for the St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Thomas Keefe. He claims Greensfelder incited Krasnicki, the former lawyer for St. Stanislaus, to help prepare a lawsuit against his former client on behalf of the Archdiocese of St. Louis in a dispute over control of church assets. The suit says Greensfelder denied any relationship with Krasnicki, but e-mails provided through discovery show otherwise.

The lawsuit also claims Greenselder “orchestrated the once-secret use of St. Stanislaus' own secretary as a mole—the 'Greensfelder spy'—who worked behind the scenes at St. Stanislaus, listening in on conversations between the parish's board and its attorneys, and passing along what she heard to Greensfelder.” According to the suit, the law firm arranged for the Archdiocese to give the secretary “a supposed 'part time job' to … compensate her for her covert espionage on their behalf."

Greensfelder released a statement saying the lawsuit’s claims have no merit.

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