MANHATTAN — Catherine Chen has a legal problem. She says she can’t get an attorney to do the work she needs done without paying more than she should.
Her aging parents want to put their house in the names of Catherine and her brother. So, they paid Manhattan attorney Bo Shi a total $1,850. That seemed like a lot. But then Catherine noticed a typo in the papers Shi had prepared. Two digits of her Social Security number were transposed.
“I called him when I was at work,” Catherine told me. “I said 'can you change these two numbers?' He said 'sure, it’s gonna cost you an extra $350.' Another 350! I said 'for 350 you’re only changing two numbers on a word document ,you can easily go back in. Change it, and we can sign it.' He said 'pay me the 350 or you’re not going to get done' and just threw our document aside and that was it.”
Catherine says she checked with various legal authorities who told her that what Shi was doing was not illegal. But it did raise potential ethical questions for them.
Since Catherine was getting nowhere she asked me to try to speak with Shi and see if he might just fix the typo and give her family their paper work.
When we went to Shi’s downtown office, he didn’t seem to remember Catherine. And it didn’t take long before he asked me to leave. As I was heading out he called the police and then called back to me to ask me who I was. Then he told me again to get out.
He still has the money from Catherine’s family and they don’t have the work finished. That’s the way attorney Bo Shi has done business in Catherine’s case.
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