Posted: Sept. 13, 2013
RICHARD KORN'S LEGAL BOOMERANG
By Celia Cohen
Only Richard Korn would box himself into his own legal troubles and then have the nerve to try to get a court to let him out of it.
Somehow it figures. Korn is the serial candidate who flopped in politics in New York, where he is from, and then came here and tried to get the Delaware voters to take him on the rebound, but they were having none of it.
They rejected him as a Democratic candidate for New Castle County executive in a party primary in 2004 and for state representative in 2006 and auditor in 2010.
Now Korn's name is showing up on court dockets the way it showed up on ballots.
There are those unsavory criminal charges in Superior Court about dealing in kiddie porn. There is an ongoing domestic dispute with his ex-wife in Family Court. Then there is the lawsuit he filed in the Court of Chancery against his own mother.
Korn sued his mother Sylvia Korn, a 93-year-old widow, to get money. In one court proceeding in June, the judge on the case called it "extremely sad and unpleasant," but by the time of another proceeding on Thursday, he revised his opinion downward.
"This has got to be the ugliest I've ever been involved in," said Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III.
Neither Richard Korn nor Sylvia Korn were in attendance at the Kent County Courthouse in Dover but left it up to their lawyers, Richard Abbott for Richard Korn and David Ferry Jr. for Sylvia Korn.
The lawyers were back in court because Richard Korn wanted the judge to stay the case -- put it on hold -- for three to five months. The reason is Korn is overburdened by the other criminal and domestic matters. Also he can no longer afford to pay Abbott to represent him.
This, even though Korn was already embroiled in the other two cases when he filed the suit against his mother and had already armored himself with two other lawyers.
Maybe the only approach more brazen would be the one in the joke about the guy who killed his parents and then asked for mercy because he was an orphan.
"A limited stay, short stay, so my client can get back on his feet," Abbott proposed.
"It's a little disturbing to me to hear the plaintiff [Richard Korn], after being charged with felony offenses, decided to sue his mother," Glasscock said.
Abbott also argued his client deserved a break because Korn thinks he was driven into all the court cases by a conspiracy cooked up by his mother, his ex-wife and his sister to ruin him, not the least of it being his insistence his ex-wife planted the child pornography to set him up.
Ferry, speaking for Sylvia Korn, said she had done nothing of the sort. Instead, she was defending herself from her son going after her for her money like a purse snatcher.
"She's holding on for dear life to her purse," Ferry said.
Sylvia Korn is fighting for an investment account, which she says her son has used as a personal piggy bank to take hundreds of thousands of dollars, and also for the right to stay in her Hockessin condominium, which her son wants the court to make her sell, leaving her without a place to call home, and give him half the proceeds.
Richard Korn says she added his name to the investment account and the condo out of generosity to benefit him. Sylvia Korn says she did it for convenience, because he told her it would help him manage her affairs, when really he was after her money.
Mother and son are also wrangling over a cemetery plot.
Sylvia Korn says in court filings she gave her son $4,000 to buy eight gravesites, four of them specifically intended for her late husband, mother, brother and eventually herself, but he bought them in his name, not hers, and more recently, as it got ugly between them, told her he will not let her be buried there.
Abbott recast the situation during the court session. The cemetery plot was supposed to be divided, four gravesites for Sylvia Korn and four gravesites for Richard Korn, and now Richard Korn is willing to give his mother a gravesite for herself while keeping four for himself.
It was not enough. "At this point Mrs. Korn doesn't want to be buried with her son. She wants her lots back," Ferry said.
If Richard Korn needed the court case put on hold, Ferry said Sylvia Korn needed it to go ahead so it would not put her life on hold, or her afterlife in the cemetery plot, and the judge agreed.
"I take judicial notice of the life expectancy of a 93-year-old," Glasscock said. "I think the matter needs to go forward."
Even though Richard Korn did not get the stay he wanted, he still managed to drag out the case simply by asking for the postponement.
Justice unstayed was still justice delayed.