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Judge appoints conservator to take over Angelos law firm

William J. Murphy

A Baltimore County judge has appointed William J. Murphy to take over as conservator of Peter G. Angelos’ once-powerful law firm amid a protracted legal dispute that has pitted members of the Angelos family against each other.

Murphy will have the authority to sell the firm if he decides that is the best step, according to a court order issued this week.

Murphy declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday. He is a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP.

Peter G. Angelos built his Baltimore law firm into a powerhouse that handled major litigation related to asbestos exposure. But after Angelos fell ill in 2018 and lost the ability to manage his business interests, the firm and his majority stake in the Baltimore Orioles became key sticking points in a brewing dispute between his two sons, John and Louis.

Louis Angelos, the younger son, surrendered his management of the law firm last week. He sued his brother and mother, Georgia Angelos, in June, alleging that John Angelos had manipulated their mother and was exerting unilateral control over the family’s business interests.

An amended complaint filed last week also accused John and Georgia Angelos of siphoning tens of millions of dollars out of Peter Angelos’s personal bank account in an effort to shield the money from potential creditors connected to a pending malpractice lawsuit against the law firm.

RELATED: Fearing Angelos firm’s liabilities, family diverted ‘tens of millions,’ new complaint claims

Louis Angelos has run the firm since his father became incapacitated in 2018, and he claimed to have sold himself the firm last year at a price to be determined later through promissory note.

John and Georgia Angelos disputed the transaction, contending that Louis was ignoring his father’s wish that the firm would be shut down or sold after he could no longer run it.

Louis Angelos agreed to nullify the purchase last week, but without a lawyer running the firm, a conservator had to be appointed. Maryland Bar Counsel Lydia Lawless petitioned for the appointment, and Baltimore County Circuit Judge Keith R. Truffer named Murphy on Tuesday.

Jeffrey Nusinov, the lawyer for Louis Angelos, said previously that his client would remain part of the firm’s management. Nusinov could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.