Duane Morris Partner Criticized in Postal Service Report
A Duane Morris partner who served on the board of governors for the U.S. Postal Service is defending his conduct after being accused of improperly pushing postal officials to consider settling a real estate dispute involving a political friend.
A report by the Postal Service inspector general accuses Philadelphia lawyer Alan Kessler of Duane Morris of pressing for a settlement with a real estate investment firm even as he helped firm principals develop their negotiating position, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The investment firm was not a Duane Morris client, but Kessler was acquainted with one of its principals, Douglas Band, a former White House official in the Clinton administration. Kessler is a prominent Democratic fundraiser.
“All I did was try to get the parties talking to one another,” Kessler told the Inquirer. He resigned from the Postal Service board on July 31, and said disappointment over the report was one reason why. Kessler’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has said Kessler was trying to avoid costly litigation and had the best interests of the Postal Service in mind.
The dispute involved a Postal Service option to buy a Florida building for $825,000 that is currently valued at $12 million.