Michael S. Margulies, a prominent Twin Cities real estate lawyer and recently resigned member of the St. Paul Planning Commission, was forced to withdraw as partner of Minneapolis law firm Lindquist & Vennum after the firm claimed he engaged in professional misconduct.
The firm's investigation "uncovered the fact that (Margulies) had misappropriated significant sums from a limited number of clients and from the firm," said Daryle Uphoff, managing partner of Lindquist & Vennum, in a written statement.
The statement came Friday, the same day Margulies, 56, of St. Paul, and his personal company, Triad Services, were sued in Ramsey County District Court by a real estate development company for which he had worked as an attorney, secretary and treasurer.
In the lawsuit, CMB Minnetonka LLC alleged that Margulies "made numerous illicit withdrawals" from CMB's bank account and line of credit at Highland Bank and used the money — $1.5 million or more — for his own purposes.
Specifically, the suit claims Margulies spent the money to overhaul the historic mansion at 516 Summit Ave. in St. Paul that he owned with his former wife.
"It's a matter of somebody getting way out of line with the authority they were given as a lawyer," said Douglas Elsass, attorney for CMB.