Seven trusts of the Seymour H. Knox II family have been awarded $25.6 million in a management dispute with HSBC Bank.
The judgment followed a lengthy two-phase trial before Erie County Surrogate Judge Barbara Howe.
Attorneys Daniel C. Oliverio, guardian ad litem, and his co-counsel John L. Sinatra Jr., both of Hodgson Russ LLP, argued HSBC mismanaged the trust created in 1957 by Knox, former owner of the Buffalo Sabres and area philanthropist who died in 1996,
Judge Howe, according to a Hodgson Russ release, found that as a result of decades of inattention and negligence the trust sustained more than $21 million in damages. Oliverio had been appointed by the court to act as the guardian for minor grandchildren of Seymour H. Knox III. Donald G. McGrath of Donald G. McGrath, PLLC and Dennis P. Cleary of Duke, Holzman, Photiadis & Gresens LLP represented the adult beneficiaries of the trust.
McGrath and Cleary also recovered $2 million for the Seymour H. Knox IV trust and $484,000 on the marital trust created for Seymour H. Knox III’s widow, Jean R. Knox.
They, along with Oliverio, Sinatra and guardian ad litem Bradley J. Stamm of Stamm, Reynolds & Stamm, jointly recovered nearly $800,000 on a separate trust for the Knox grandchildren.
Oliverio and Sinatra also recovered more than $800,000 on three other trusts that HSBC was found to have mismanaged. The judgment, according to the release, is believed to be the largest amount ever awarded by the surrogate’s court in Western New York. Judge Howe also ordered HSBC to pay the attorneys’ fees.