Thursday, May 1, 2008

Controller's attorney bashes both sides while in court for divorce spat

Thursday, May 1st 2008, 4:00 AM

Controller William Thompson's divorce has turned into a nasty battle of name-calling and petty squabbles - and that's just from his lawyer.

Saul Edelstein, who represented the city's top moneyman in his split from his second wife, insulted Thompson's ex in an open courtroom Wednesday as "crazy as a loon."

"By the way," Edelstein said full voice to a lawyer sitting next to him in the crowded gallery of a Brooklyn divorce court, "my client's not too smart, either."

Thompson's 2005 split from Sylvia Kinard-Thompson was finalized a year later - but the couple is bickering over a piece of furniture that once belonged to the controller's grandmother, Edelstein complained.

His colleague agreed that Thompson - a likely candidate for mayor next year - wouldn't want his marital troubles ending up "in the Daily News."

The chatty lawyers were unaware they were sitting in front of a News reporter in the courtroom's benches while they waited for their hearings to start.

Most of the conversation could be heard by several people around them, and the reporter did not have to strain to listen.

Thompson, 54, was supposed to be at the hearing but skipped it to attend a housing forum.

So he missed his lawyer grousing that Kinard-Thompson "wants to be first lady" and her former divorce lawyer is "inexperienced" and "just as crazy as she is."

Kinard-Thompson, who is a lawyer, was sitting at the other end of the courtroom and did not hear the exchange.

She later threatened to take action against Edelstein for his words.

"I am shocked and disappointed by those comments. I have always regarded this as a private matter. I married Bill because I loved him and because he said he loved me," Kinard-Thompson said in a statement.

"As a Christian, I will continue to pray for Bill. As an attorney, I will see his lawyer in court."

A spokesman for Thompson declined to comment, calling it a private matter. Edelstein could not be reached to respond to Kinard-Thompson.

The self-described "dean" of Brooklyn divorce lawyers, Edelstein was more guarded about his opinions when he and Kinard-Thompson appeared before Judge Eric Prus.

Kinard-Thompson represented herself at the hearing.

Thompson claims his second wife took his grandmother's credenza from their former Brooklyn home.

It's not worth much, maybe "a dollar and a half," Edelstein said.

"It has great sentimental value," Edelstein told the judge. "She's taken that. She's not allowed to take that."

The couple were supposed to get together to divvy up their furniture, but that never happened, the lawyer said.

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