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Where’s Mastro? Big Bankruptcy Client’s Disappearance Leaves Lawyers Unpaid

Posted Sep 13, 2011 5:08 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Ordered to turn over two diamond rings worth an estimated $1.4 million to a Seattle bankruptcy court, an elderly real estate developer and his wife disappeared over the summer from their home in Palm Desert, Calif.

That left Bucknell Stehlik Sato & Stubner, the law firm representing Michael Mastro, 87, and his wife Linda, 61, in a tough spot: Its attorneys haven't communicated with Mastro since July 1. Nor were they getting paid, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports.

As of yesterday, the firm withdrew from the case.

Now it remains to be seen whether the U.S. marshals get their man. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marc Barreca has ordered them to find and jail the couple in Seattle. He also imposed a daily fine for noncompliance, which at last report totaled over $300,000.

A Seattle Times article published in July, not long after the couple's disappearance, provides further details.

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