Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Jerry Feffer Death (2/13/13)

I just received notice from the Tax Division that Jerry Feffer has passed away.

The "long-form" Washington Post Obituary is here.  (For some reason, it was not posted until 3/4.)  I recommend this one to readers.  The "short-form" Washington Post Obituary is here.

I encourage those reading the blog to post their own memories as comments to this blog.  Be sure and put your comments as comments (and not as a reply to another comment unless you mean that it reply to someone else's comment).  For instructions on how to comment, see the link in the upper right hand corner of this blog.  Thanks.


Bob Fink of Kostelanetz & Fink LLP  posted the following in the New York Times, here:

FEFFER--Gerald,. I have just lost my dearest friend, Jerry Feffer. I write this notice to share with others a few of my thoughts in the hope that in doing so, it will somehow help to assuage the pain and void that is felt from Jerry's passing. Jerry had an extraordinary legal career as a highly respected federal prosecutor and a Deputy Assistant Attorney General with the Department of Justice. But it was in private practice as a partner with the firm of Kostelanetz & Ritholz, and later at Williams & Connelly, that Jerry attained nationwide recognition as the leading criminal tax defense attorney in America. That is what gave Jerry fame but it was Jerry, the man, the husband, the father and friend that brought him love. He was caring, generous, playful and wise. One of those extremely rare human beings whose heart was always open to understand and feel the concerns of others, and whose mind could always absorb the ideas of others without prejudgment. Everyone who had contact with him adored him. When he would put his arm on your shoulder, flash his brilliant smile and share his thoughts with you, you knew that all would be well. He shall be missed by so many. Robert S. Fink Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP


  1. As many readers will know, Jerry represented Leona Helmsley in her criminal tax case in the late 1980s. Leona Helmsley was the then-wife of Harry Helmsley, a real estate and hotel entrepeneur. She was tough as nails, and the evidence at her criminal trial established on several occasions that she could be stern / mean. She had the reputation as being "Queen of Mean." And, she was reported at trial as having said: "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes." So, on closing argument, Jerry dealt right up front with her reputation. As reported in the NY Times (link below), he "told the jurors that his client was an unpopular woman but was not 'charged in the indictment with being a tough bitch.''"

    The Wikipedia entry on Ms. Helmsley is here:

    The NY Times report on 7/24/1989 is here:

    1. Jerry was a prince of a fellow and a brilliant lawyer. I've missed him for the many years since the onset of his condition took him out of his practice. I honor his memory and grieve for his family as do all who knew him, now that he is gone.

  2. What a loss! Jerry joined the Division as Deputy AAG for Criminal matters when Cono left to join Mort Caplin. It’s not easy for a former AUSA, some of whom view the Tax Division as red tape strung between them and a tax prosecution, to make the transition from field to Washington, but Jerry did it brilliantly. He worked seamlessly with Stan Krysa in developing supportive guidelines for the Criminal Section and AUSA and managed the AAG (me) and US Attorneys when he had to. He made several improvements in handling our work load without any loss of personal attention to each case. His cheerfulness and great sense of humor complimented his fine mind, and he had the advocate’s gift of making me feel that our decisions on difficult cases were my own when really they were those he thought we should make. After our Justice days, we swapped cities – I going to New York while he stayed in Washington, my home town, but he remained a dear friend whom I deeply admired.

    Carr Ferguson


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