Isidor J. Kresel hung out his legal shingle yesterday for the second time in his career. Readmitted to the New York State Bar Association on Monday by action of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, he was once againâ€”as heâ€”as thirty-four years agoâ€”ready for the practice of law.
Interviewed yesterday afternoon in his office at 15 Broad street, Kresel told a reporter that he was anxious to get down to the business of “losing himself in his work.”
CONFIDENT ON FUTURE
The pint-sized attorney, who has been the nemesis of any number of lawbreakers, seemed certain that his troubles were over. Though he stated that District Attorney William C. Dodge had given him no such assurance, he was certain that the six remaining indictments hanging over his head would be quashed within a short time. They will, he said, “die of their own weight.”
It was the first time that Kresel accepted congratulations on his vindication with a full heart. Until the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, First Division, ruled that there was no appeal from the reversal made by the Appellate Division, Third Department, he would not admitâ€”to use his wordsâ€”that he “was out of the woods.”
The remaining indictments, he now feels, are no threat to his peace of mind because they are so co-related with the indictment that he was originally convicted on that they cannot stand up in court should any political pressure be exerted forcing the District Attorney further to prosecuteâ€”or as some would say, persecuteâ€”him.
PLEASED BUT TIRED
Worn by his long battle for vindication, the attorney looked pleased but tired. He couldn’t, by any stretch of imagination, be described as jubilant. As he told the reporter that he couldn’t wait to “lose himself in his work,” one couldn’t help but feel that any pleasure in his triumph was more than vitiated by the absence of his wife who died last April of the shock and grief his conviction and disbarment caused her.
Kresel looks forward to renewing his legal career unbowed by his tribulations. Asked whether any of his old clients had already retained him as counsel during the first day of his resumed career, he said:
But, he added, “one doesn’t get completely out of touch with a clientele of thirty-four years’ standing.”
READY FOR PUBLIC LIFE
And if people think that Kresel goes back to practice a shorn and meek lamb, that he will refrain from entrance into public life by reason of his unhappy experiences during the past two years, they are mightily mistaken.
Asked this question by the reporter, the attorney quietly, but firmly, said that he had no intention of remaining in the background of a corporate practice should the opportunity be offered him to be of public service.
“Despite my unhappy experience,” he said, “I do not intend to abstain from public life. If my city or my country feels at any time that I can be of service, I am more than willing that they should call upon me.
“Although a lawyer, like any one else,” he continued, “has to earn a living, I think that a lawyer’s obligation to society has deeper ramifications. I stand ready to be of service.”
And here, with just the slightest trace of pride, seemingly indicative of the fact that he had no regrets and would do the same over again, Kresel said: “I don’t think I have labored entirely in vain.”
He undoubtedly was thinking of his last service to the city and state, when he served as counsel to the Seabury Committee Investigating New York’s Magistrates Courts, an investigation that preceded and directly led to the later investigation of municipal affairs that resulted in the resignation of “Jimmy” Walker as Mayor of New York.
Unbiased observers feel that Kresel’s long career of Tammany-baiting, and his long and bitter feud with Max Steuer, were responsible for the tireless prosecution resulting from his connection with the Bank of United States, a prosecution that was conducted by Steuer himself.
The specific charge on which the little man was found guilty was that he was connected with a transfer of money from the account of the Municipal Safe Deposit Company to the Bolivar Development Corporation to enable the latter to purchase stock in the Premier Development Corporation.
Bernard K. Marcus, Saul Singer, Henry W. Pollack and Herbert Singer were convicted on the same charge in another trial. Kresel’s case was heard separately later because of illness at the time of the first action.
In arguing the appeal Kresel’s attorney, John W. Davis, a former Democratic Presidential candidate and one time Ambassador to Great Britain, contended that Kresel’s participation in the alleged offense was solely as a lawyer discharging his professional duty. Davis charged his client was denied a fair trial.
At the time the conviction was reversed, Davis issued a statement calling the decision “just and fully warranted.” “At no time,” he said, “has my confidence been shaken for a moment in Mr. Kresel’s entire innocence and his personal and professional integrity.”
Kresel’s appeal for readmission to the bar was heard by five justices of the Supreme Court. The motion for readmission was made by Davis. It was not opposed by any of the three Bar Associations to the Association of the Bar of the State of New York, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the New York County Lawyers’ Association.
DODGE APPEAL DENIED
The application for readmission followed the decision of Chief Justice Crane of the Court of Appeals denying a motion made by the District Attorney seeking an appeal of the reversal.
Kresel, who was born in Austria fifty-seven years ago, came to this country with his widowed mother at the age of twelve. A brilliant student, he attended the Columbia Law School on a Pulitzer scholarship which he won at Horace Mann High School. He was graduated at the age of twenty-two and was admitted to the bar in 1900.
The young attorney served, and made a name for himself, as an Assistant District Attorney under William Travers Jerome, the noted reformer. He served with that militant prosecutor for the entire eight years of his term.
During this period, serving as a special investigator, he directed the drives against the flourishing rackets of the dayâ€”the loan sharks, the insurance frauds and the bank looters such as the now forgotten David Rothschild whose conviction Kresel secured for the wrecking of the old Federal Bank.
His uncanny flair for investigation made him a logical choice for the legal staff of the Merritt investigating committee of 1910 which uncovered fraudulent practices on the part of members of the State Legislature, and their iniquity in general.
He was part of the legal staff that handled the impeachment of Governor Sulzer. He served as a special Federal Assistant Attorney General in the prosecution of meat packers. He served for a year as counsel for the Bar Association in its wholesale clean-up of the ambulance chasing racket among lawyers. This was considered one of his most notable triumphs.
And now, after more than a year on the outside looking in, Kresel is once more a member of the bar that he served so well. In the words of the Rubetown Gazette, one might say: “This new (if not young) attorney will bear watching.”