Attorneys ask judge to recuse himself from Simon case

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Attorneys for Bren Simon turned their ire toward a Hamilton County judge on Tuesday, asking him to recuse himself from a legal battle over real estate magnate Melvin Simon's $2 billion estate.

They took issue with Judge William J. Hughes' choice of personal counsel to represent him in front of a state judicial commission. The judge hired two attorneys with Bingham McHale after he was arrested for driving while intoxicated in North Carolina in October.

Other attorneys at the Indianapolis-based firm represent Simon Property Group Inc. in the contentious estate dispute.

Judge Hughes said in open court Tuesday that he jettisoned the Bingham McHale attorneys—Kevin McGoff and James Bell—on Nov. 22, three days after Bren's attorneys objected and asked for a stay in the case.

Judge Hughes said he has "no bias" for any party or attorney in the case.

Attorneys for Bren, Melvin's widow, were not convinced.

"I am seeking fair and impartial judgment on behalf of my client," attorney Michael Ciresi said in a terse exchange with the judge.

Judge Hughes, who was vacationing when he was arrested Oct. 27, said he was not under the influence when he amended an order in the Simon case earlier that same day.

In court on Tuesday, Judge Hughes turned down a request to put off hearings on several procedural matters, but the judge said he would not immediately rule on the items under discussion.

Melvin’s daughter Deborah Simon is challenging the will in court, saying her father was coerced into approving a new estate plan that dramatically increased the amount of his fortune going to Bren. She also wants her stepmother removed as trustee of the estate while the broader case is pending.

Simon Property Group, meanwhile, joined the dispute to determine whether it must honor Bren Simon’s request to convert $500 million of her late husband's ownership stake in the publicly traded company into common shares or cash.

Judge Hughes said he will cooperate if Bren's attorneys follow legal protocol in appealing to a higher court to have him removed from the case. But he refused to allow verbal arguments on the issue in open court.

"I'm not turning this into a circus for anyone's benefit" said Judge Hughes, a 22-year veteran of the bench.

His initial court hearing in the DWI case is scheduled for January.


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  1. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

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  4. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.

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