Clients Allege Nusbaum Malpractice, Billing Fraud; Arbitrator Daniel Portanova to Cover for Him

By Janine Morrison

PT Barnum Seaside Park Bridgeport

Fairfield County was the home of Phineas Taylor ‘PT’ Barnum, 1810-1891. 

P. T. was a member of the CT assembly and mayor of Bridgeport. Then he founded a circus, Barnum & Bailey, ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’.”

He took what he learned in CT and was famously quoted “there’s a sucker born every minute.”

Barnum learned a lot in CT – but that’s a story for another day. His successors became attorneys in family law.

But let us move into the 21st century and Dan Lynch, who went for a no-fault divorce in Bridgeport Court.

Remarkable. A CT media outlet published how the family court abused Lynch, who mistakenly entered the CT family courthouse in Barnum’s old town Bridgeport.

He was seeking a no-fault divorce, and he got it and something more – he left bankrupt — on top of being wrongfully incarcerated for contempt of court.

When is Connecticut going to STOP treating parents like criminals? Law-abiding, productive parents enter the family court. Within months, after decades without an issue, the character assassination and violation of rights leave them penniless and traumatized with little if any legal recourse in a rigged system.

Lynch had to learn to be a lawyer, as he stated in testimony given in 2014.

According to Lynch, “The mechanisms allegedly in place for review of attorney and judicial misconduct have been covering up obvious malfeasance for decades… hiding behind a range of immunities if challenged in court.”

According to the article, the state granted Lynch permission to sue the state due to alleged judicial misconduct – related to his Family Court case.

This was unusual, because the state has immunity.

Attorney Daniel Portanova represented Lynch, who ironically is the only attorney Nusbaum was willing to let be an arbitrator in his lawsuit with Karen Riordan.

In his representation of Lynch he was a curious no-show at the crucial moment

Here is the 2016 story by Steve Coulter for the Trumbull [CT] Times.

Trumbull man to sue state for attorney, judicial misconduct

By Steve Coulter; May 11, 2016

Divorce has cost Trumbull resident Dan Lynch a lot more than a life partner — it has cost him his business, his physical and mental health, and his faith in the judicial system.

Perhaps most important, the legal situation cost him time — almost a decade’s worth of it, more than 15 times the average period for such a matter.

Lynch, who has been seeking an opportunity to sue, among others, Connecticut’s Statewide Grievance Committee and the Judiciary Department over alleged attorney and judicial misconduct for the last seven years, received some long-awaited good news from the House of Representatives and Connecticut State Senate Tuesday, May 3.

In the final hours of this year’s legislative session, the Connecticut General Assembly granted a rare reversal enabling Lynch to recover damages — he is seeking in excess of $55 million in damages in his federal complaint which will now be amended to include additional defendants and claims — resulting from his 2009 divorce and related actions in Bridgeport.

To the extent allowed by law, he noted certain claims allow for treble damages, so the damage awards could be substantially higher.

“In the end, it’s a very emotional victory,” Lynch told The Times Friday. “I don’t get back my clean record, I don’t get back all the time I’ve spent researching and responding to these cases, but now I can continue my pursuit for justice and make sure that this doesn’t happen to anybody else.”

Lynch, a former member of Trumbull’s Economic Development Commission, said his claim for damages derives, in part, from a decision by several state officials that include Bridgeport Family Court Judge Howard T. Owens, who put him in jail for an allegation of contempt.

Daniel Portanova stayed away from court one day. It might have saved him his law license. Now he is Edward Nusbaum’s chosen arbitrator when his clients have fee disputes.  

Lynch’s own attorney at that time, Trumbull resident Daniel Portanova failed to show for that 2009 hearing. Opposing counsel, Stanley Goldstein, lied and misrepresented other facts before Judge Owens.

“Even after Owens found and stated on the record his concerns that my former wife had taken it upon herself to change the court orders and that he couldn’t find me in contempt, he ultimately acquiesced to Goldstein’s demands and ordered that I be immediately incarcerated,” Lynch explained.

He said that Connecticut employees later allowed Goldstein to resign from the bar, despite pending disciplinary actions being prosecuted by the state from a litany of Fairfield County complaints.

“There were several people after him for doing the same thing he did to me — falsify records, making knowingly false statements, producing fake exhibits,” Lynch said of the attorney who represented his wife in the case.

Goldstein, whose practice was based in Trumbull and was a longtime Monroe resident, had been on an earlier one-year disciplinary probation ordered by the same court in Bridgeport.

He resigned in 2012 in the midst of four grievance complaints that were being prosecuted by the state’s Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel.

His resignation was accepted by Bridgeport’s Presiding Civil Judge, Barbara N. Bellis, even though Goldstein was not present to attest to the authenticity of the letter or be questioned about its contents.

Prime Example of Nusbaum- Deleo v Nusbaum–

Seated: Thomas P. Parrino, Edward Nusbaum. Standing: Harold W. Haldeman, Laura R. Shattuck, Randi R. Nelson, Tom M. Melfi.

Let us move on to Edward Nusbaum.

He seems to have been running the same divorce and custody scheme for decades.  Frank Report has asked me to investigate the cases and report back about Nusbaum and his clients.

In the case of David DeLeo, Nusbaum seems to have been working for the opposition.

When Deleo began to suspect Nusbaum was working against his best interest, and colluding with opposing counselor and court appointed psychologist – Dr. Robert Kruger (known player in the CT family court group) in his divorce and custody case, Deleo confronted Nusbaum.

Deleo confronted Nusbaum after discovering that his wife’s attorneys, Effron and Rutki, paid $50,000 to Kruger, the psychologist, who would recommend custody to the court and the GAL over their daughter.

Same scenario in all these cases. The one who pays gets the ruling in their favor. Nusbaum and the other attorney choose which parent will win, and then they work together to milk billings — that’s what DeLeo alleged.

There are many people who saw what they thought was malpractice. Karen Riordan, Sabina Brandt, Carleigh Welsh, Harrison Bubrowsky, Robert Foisie, Christopher Homonnay, Sharon Selkowitz, Margaret McHenry, Maria Dolores Collazo, Juan Colon-Pagan, Diane Harrick, Linda Kramer, Randal Swatek and many others have alleged.

[Be patient, we will get to all the cases.] 

DeLeo sued Nusbaum for malpractice, and alleged Nusbaum obtained privileged information from him and divulged it to his wife’s attorney.

From a deposition:

DeLeo: There was a meeting in Mr. Nusbaum’s office with the lawyer who was appointed to protect my children’s interest [the guardian ad litem.

Deleo’s Attorney: Was that Attorney Diaga Osis?

DeLeo: Yes, Diaga Osis, and I remember sitting there in the conference room, and Mr. Nusbaum said, `Did you know that Effron and Rutkin sent $50,000 worth of business to a guy named Herb Sax,’ who I never heard of before, `and Kruger?’ And I just sat there, and I said — I didn’t say anything. I said, `You have got to be kidding me.’ Here we have Effron and Rutkin sending all their business to Kruger, and Kruger is running the show. At that time, it really hit me like a ton of bricks. At that time, it really, you know, you go to an expert, you get a specialist, you put your faith in them, you trust them, you pay them money and it was unbelievable.

Deleo’s Attorney: Did that lead to some unpleasantness between you and Mr. Nusbaum?

DeLeo: Yes.

Deleo’s Attorney: Can you tell us how that transpired?

DeLeo: I remember that he showed me the letter that I sent to my wife and said, `What about this?’ you know, `What about this?’ And I said, `You know, I got the shaft here, you know. I am not happy at all. Here we had these ridiculous allegations, there was never any evidence, I mean, nothing, and here I am almost a year later still getting the shaft, you know. I think we ought to part ways.’ Words to that effect.

The litigation was intense, and it truly looked bad for Nusbaum. In fact, the malpractice seems so palpable that even Nusbaum had to be afraid he would end up disbarred.

But Nusbuam found a loophole. The client must sue the attorney for malpractice within three years of the end of the attorney’s representation or discovery of the malpractice.

DeLeo did sue within that period, and the lower court upheld the lawsuit was not time barred.

Nusbaum appealed. His argument was DeLeo had complained about him before they ended the representation.

So the appellate court backdated the souring of their relationship to the date DeLeo complained about Nusbaum’s alleged double dealings, not when he actually fired Nusbaum or when Nusbaum stopped billing him.

The appellate court, protecting one of their own, concluded that the three year statute of limitations had run.

DeLeo could not get to a public trial where the double-dealing allegations would have been tried under oath and witnesses would have been called.

Nusbaum learned an important lesson from this. He vowed afterwards to never expose himself to a trial. All clients afterwards would have to submit to arbitration.

In future stories, we will show how Nusbaum still got into billing disputes and malpractice problems, and how he refined his retainer over time to eliminate the standard arbitration associations in favor of one of his cronies – like Portanova – and that there can be no discovery.

Let us see if disbarment might come at the tail end of Nusbaum’s career, instead of as it probably should have been during the earlier stages when David DeLeo sued him for cheating with his wife’s attorney to destroy his relationship with his child.

The Nusbaum Files

FR is gathering news about Edward Nusbaum’s various cases. The case of Karen Riordan sparked our interest, and we have already uncovered many similar cases of alleged overbilling, collusion with opposing attorneys, withholding records, and fraudulent billing.

Please contact me with information about attorney Edward Nusbaum. All information will be kept confidential.

Email me at:


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Janine Morrison


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  • Rewind and Read-Again:

    “Sec. 52-407kk. Appointment of arbitrator; service as neutral arbitrator …

    (b) An individual who has a known, direct and material interest in the outcome of the arbitration proceeding or a known, existing and substantial relationship with a party may not serve as an arbitrator required by an agreement to be neutral.”

    “Sec. 52-407ll. Disclosure by arbitrator. (a) Before accepting appointment, an individual who is requested to serve as an arbitrator, after making a reasonable inquiry, shall disclose to all parties to the agreement to arbitrate and arbitration proceeding and to any other arbitrators any known facts that a reasonable person would consider likely to affect the impartiality of the arbitrator in the arbitration proceeding, including:

    (1) A financial or personal interest in the outcome of the arbitration proceeding; and

    (2) An existing or past relationship with any of the parties to the agreement to arbitrate or the arbitration proceeding, their counsel or representatives, a witness or another arbitrator.

    (b) An arbitrator has a continuing obligation to disclose to all parties to the agreement to arbitrate and arbitration proceeding and to any other arbitrators any facts that the arbitrator learns after accepting appointment which a reasonable person would consider likely to affect the impartiality of the arbitrator.

    (c) If an arbitrator discloses a fact required by subsection (a) or (b) of this section to be disclosed and a party timely objects to the appointment or continued service of the arbitrator based upon the fact disclosed, the objection may be a ground under subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 52-407ww for vacating an award made by the arbitrator.

    (d) If the arbitrator did not disclose a fact as required by subsection (a) or (b) of this section, upon timely objection by a party, the court, under subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 52-407ww, may vacate an award.

    (e) An arbitrator appointed as a neutral arbitrator who does not disclose a known, direct and material interest in the outcome of the arbitration proceeding or a known, existing and substantial relationship with a party is presumed to act with evident partiality under subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 52-407ww. …”

    How can Daniel Portanova be the arbitrator when he refuses to disclose his history of arbitration with Nusbaum or Trembicki?

    How can Daniel Portanova be the arbitrator when rulings of the Fairfield Family Law Attorney Cartel are under seal with the family court?

    How can Daniel Portanova be the arbitrator when there is NO WAY for an innocent party to determine:
    1. How many times he’s served as arbitrator for Nusbaum and/or Trembicki
    2. How many hours he billed per arbitration.
    3. How much money he made for these private arbitrations.
    4. How many times a pro-se litigant was involved and how many times he ruled in favor of the pro-se litigant.
    5. How many times he was the sole arbitrator and how many times there was a 3 person Fairfield County Cartel panel of arbitrators?

    These criminals (and they are) have managed to subvert the rule of law by the illegal obfuscated provisions of Nusbaum’s retainer.

    Nusbaum has perfected these conditions over time–

    With enough information uncovered Frankreport will be able to demonstrate a comorbidity between Nusbaum’s evolving retainer agreement and his increasingly egregious violations of law and gross malfeasance visited upon his clients.

    These are career criminals.
    Edward Nusbaum is 74 years old.
    Alexander Trembicki is 67 years old.
    Daniel D. Portanova is 81 years old.

    There are no careers to be proud of . There is no legacy other than criminal conduct for these three.

  • Fairfield County Family Law Attorney Cartel–

    This is indeed a cartel in the legal sense:

    “A cartel is a group of independent corporations or other entities that join together to fix prices, rig bids, allocate markets, or conduct other similar illegal activities.”

    “A cartel is a collection of independent businesses or organizations that collude in order to manipulate the price of a product or service. Cartels are competitors in the same industry and seek to reduce that competition by controlling the price in agreement with one another.”

    Nusbaum, Trembicki, Portanova and others (names to follow soon), have railroaded CT residents and taxpayers–upstanding citizens, into their private arbitration where there is/are:

    – no procedures
    – no standards
    – no oversight
    – no discovery
    – no due process
    – no recourse

    The final outcome determined by the arbitrator is filed under seal with the court, ensuring there will be…

    – no evidence
    – no history
    – no dirty hands of the filthiest scoundrels who have robbed their neighbors blind over decades.

    They are monsters walking among us.
    Actually, Nusbaum does not walk. He drives a flashy silver porsche with plundered funds.

  • Daniel Lynch gave at least a decade of his life to fight this machine of corruption, that has it’s arms in every entity– police, dcf, schools, hospitals– there are contacts everywhere. Every agency has a crony– a mouthpiece for the GAL– who conceals the truth and parrots whatever storyline is required.

    Even with Daniel Lynch taking it as far as he did, there is virtually NO change at all in family court. Daniel Lynch, the GAL ‘Task Force’– a result of thousands of parents — was all shut down and swept under the rug.

    We need change in government. Lamont and Tong are useless and complicit. They know exactly how the game is played and are invested in keeping it going.

  • “Barnum learned a lot in CT – but that’s a story for another day. His successors became attorneys in family law.”

    Congrats on finding the perfect historical quote- “there’s a sucker born every minute”- to encapsulate what Connecticut family law is all about.

    Indeed the family court is a circus, filled with trickery and deceit. And once the show is over, ringmasters quickly pack up, leaving the spectators penniless and stunned, and open a new venue.

      • The family court circus WOULD be a great source of information if it weren’t filled with vile rhetoric and bigoted terms.

        Whoever is responsible for this blog COULD be beneficial to victims of family court, but they lose all credibility and distract from critical issues when hatred and filthy terms override any legitimate information.

  • State of Connecticut Superior Court where “there’s a sucker born every minute”– should be inscribed on the building.

    Great article.

  • Why the need to use a fake picture? If you need to use a pen name, so be it, but I think adding fake pictures undermines the credibility of the website even more.

          • @Anonymous Jan 17@6:51am:
            Whatever, snowflake. If you can’t take a reader giving constructive criticism to a blog they follow, then go read elsewhere.

            I made the comment because I don’t want the FR to lose credibility with fake pictures for their writers. In most cases at FR, it’s obvious the picture is a fake, like an image from a 1950s movie, but this picture looks like it’s trying to pass as a real photo, which tends to make people distrustful bc it seems like you’re trying to fool them.

            Just saying.

        • In the realm of exposing the crimes committed, what kind of fakery is most off-putting, 12:41?

  • “In the case of David DeLeo, Nusbaum seems to have been working for the opposition.”

    I’m not saying it isn’t true, but I see zero evidence of that in the text that follows.

    “Deleo confronted Nusbaum after discovering that his wife’s attorneys, Effron and Rutki, paid $50,000 to Kruger, the psychologist, who would recommend custody to the court and the GAL over their daughter.”

    What does that have to do with Nusbaum? I’m not getting it.

    • Nusbaum had been his attorney. He knew the opposition was sending money to Kruger – but never informed DeLeo.

      He was with nusbaum for a year and nusbaum did nothing to stop the false narrative.

      They were making allegations against DeLeo with no evidence and nusbaum did nothing to defend his client. Nusbaum works for opposing counsels best interest. He “managed” DeLeo as he does all his clients.

      And in the end, Nusbaum flips on his own client and joins the opposition and engages in character assassination of his own client.

      Read about this case. Nusbaum signed agreements without Deleo informed consent. Agreements to supervised visitation when DeLeo was a fit parent Nusbaum is a fraud.

    • Effron and Nusbaum do not celebrate Easter, sharing a common bond in ideology in worship of shekels while defeating secular law.

        • All family court players worship the same chosen ideology, why they live in family court, money is easy, victims plentiful, protection guaranteed, not a single player advocates Church teachings.

      • From The Jewish Voice —

        re: a few common bonds in history and ideology — and polarizing politics disguised as religion …

        “… The Tanakh, the Bible of the Jewish people, also known at the Old Testament, is full of proof and promise about a Savior who would come from the line of King David and redeem people from their sin and brokenness. Yeshua perfectly fulfilled over 324 prophecies about the coming Messiah in the Tanakh.

        According to mathematician Peter Stoner, the probabilities of any one person fulfilling even 48 of the over 324 Messianic prophecies found in the Tanakh would be 1 in 10^157* (*1 followed by 157 zeros). This is as likely as the chance of finding, on the very first attempt, one specific electron out of all of the electrons in all the known mass of the entire universe! …”

        “… While Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus (Yeshua) and Easter Sunday celebrates His resurrection, the timing of these holidays historically corresponds with pagan holidays. Messianic Jewish people also observe the resurrection of Yeshua from the dead, believing His resurrection is evidence of His finished work in conquering sin and death for us. . Messianic Jews generally celebrate Yeshua’s resurrection on the first day of the Week of Unleavened Bread, also called Passover. Additionally, Messianic Jews observe the traditional Jewish holidays and feasts such as Purim, Chanukah, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), and the Feast of Booths (Sukkot). …”

        “For the ruthless will vanish,
        the mockers will disappear,
        and all who look for evil
        will be cut down—
        those who indict a man with a word,
        who ensnare the mediator at the gate,
        and who with false charges
        deprive the innocent of justice.“


    • Ahh yes! Judge Gerald Adelman– Appointed to RFTD to traffic children through family court, destroy parental bonds, and blatantly violate all due process while denying civil and constitutional rights of innocent parents and children.

      Adelman’s conduct fiercely protected by AG William Tong who witnessed and condoned Adelman’s perjury when he lied at his judicial reappointment re: Susan Skipp– one of the most destructive and vicious cases in CT.

      It was a “case” — in was criminal conduct by Adelman and many others in the cabal.

  • Adelman put the final nail in Lynch’s coffin. Look at the ideology of the players, the goal is to drain family bank, enrich the court players, it is a racket, a criminal enterprise run by the chosen. How the Bar Association rolls with the judges.

  • This is a great series and a much easier read without editorial comments, strange analogies and doctored photos. Great job! And just touching the surface as they all run the same way in every courthouse in CT

    • Undercover cops pose as criminals to catch criminals. Readers and commenters (and me too) who object to crude photos and crusty insults could keep this in mind: Some of the most powerful people in the world who tried to destroy whistleblowers have been sent to jail in different ways.

      If crude photos and crusty insults is what it will take to eventually protect children and families from the very real, absolutely evil, horribly traumatic and often irreversible harm done in family courts, Godspeed to those crude photos, crusty insults and strange analogies. May they work well, thoroughly and as soon as possible.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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