Supreme Court Appellate Division First Judicial Department Departmental Disciplinary Committee 61 Broadway, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10006
November 3, 2016
To Whom it May Concern:
Please accept this letter outlining the facts and circumstances of my Ethics Complaint against Peter L. Cedeno, Esq.
In or about 2010, I retained Mr. Cedeno to represent me in my divorce from my then wife. At the time, I was employed by Wilens and Baker, P.C. while Mr. Cedeno was the head of the matrimonial department at Wilens and Baker. As you can imagine, I assumed that Mr. Cedeno would diligently and zealously represent my interests in my divorce action as he was not just my lawyer but also my co-worker. Unfortunately, Mr. Cedeno was more interested in propositioning my now ex-wife and attempting to engage her in an illicit relationship than in advocating on my behalf.
At a hearing in 2010, Mr. Cedeno represented me at a Court appearance wherein he unreasonably coerced me to accept an extraordinarily unfavorable settlement arrangement which included an extremely high child support payment in light of the fact that custody was evenly split between myself and my ex-wife. Later, I came to discover that Mr. Cedeno negotiated this unfavorable deal with my ex-wife, who was unrepresented at the hearing, in order to gain her favor in an attempt to engage her in a sexual relationship.
While Mr. Cedeno was purportedly “negotiating” the settlement arrangement with my ex-wife outside of my presence, he was instead representing to her that he would “take care of her” and obtain a “great deal” for her as a result of the negotiations. He further provided her with his personal phone number, requested that she
“friend” him on Facebook and attempted to secure a romantic dinner date with her in Queens. I have attached an e-mail conversation with my ex-wife which confirms Mr. Cedeno’s attempts to connect with her on Facebook.
At a later Family Court Appearance in 2012, where I was unrepresented, I was shocked to find that my ex-wife was represented by Julio Portilla, Esq. Mr. Portilla is a bankruptcy attorney who, to the best of my knowledge, has no matrimonial experience. Mr. Portilla was employed at Wilens and Baker at the same time as Mr. Cedeno and both left Wilens and Baker to start their own law firms at approximately the same time. Notably, Mr. Portilla and Mr. Cedeno share the same office suite at the time of the 2012 Court Appearance.
I believe that Mr. Cedeno was effectively representing my ex-wife at the time of the 2012 Court Appearance although Mr. Portilla was representing her in name only in order to avoid a disqualifying conflict of interest. Ultimately, on August 21, 2012, Court Referee Mildred Negron agreed with me that Mr. Portilla’s representation presented a conflict of interest and disqualified Mr. Portilla from representing my ex-wife.
I believe Mr. Cedeno skirted the ethical rules in 2012 and failed to diligently represent me in 2010 in order to attempt to engage my ex-wife in an improper sexual relationship which has damaged me personally in light of the unfavorable settlement agreement which remains in effect.
Please do not hesitate to contact my attorneys, Joshua S. Bauchner, and Anthony J. D’Artiglio, with the law firm of Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC, at (973) 247-9000, if you need any additional information or have any questions.