Cook County Record

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Company accuses Chicago law firm of stealing late president's rare coins, other property

By Annie Cosby | Nov 5, 2014

A Cook County company is suing an area law firm over allegations a theft occurred after the death of the company's president.

Lake Shore Numismatic Investment Corp. filed a lawsuit Oct. 7 in Cook County Circuit Court against Stahl Cowen Crowley Addis; Richard Cowen, individually and as agent for Stahl Cowen Crowley Addis; and Sharon Vargas.

The plaintiff company was engaged in the business of rare coin collecting and trading through its president Charles Walanka, who had maintained offices in Northbrook and Highland Park prior to his July 2012 death. Cathy Papagiorgio was appointed executor of Walanka's estate in August 2012, the suit states.

Lake Shore Numismatic accuses the defendants of entering Walanka's Highland Park residence without legal authority on Jan. 26, 2013, and taking his property and proprietary documents, including rare coins, currency, computers, client lists, invoices, banking and insurance documents and tax records.

The company alleges it has made demands for the return of the items, but the defendants have failed to do so. It further claims the law firm pursued a complaint against the plaintiff's representatives or Walanka's estate on behalf of Vargas without good faith.

The defendants are accused of trespass, negligence, theft, conversion, tortious interference with business and contractual relations and tortious interference with prospective business relations and advantage.

Lake Shore Numismatic is seeking $1 million in actual damages and $1 million in punitive damages, as well as attorney fees. It is represented by attorney John L. Malevitis of Spartacus Law in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court case number: 2014L010411.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt and it represents only one side of the story.

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