Venice attorney Michael Chiantella died May 30 of an apparent suicide amid accusations of malpractice and the loss of more than $3 million in questionable investments.At least he didn't kill the wife and kids like so many victims of Greenspan's bubbles do.
Chiantella owed approximately $900,000 to one of his former clients, a Venice man who had sued him for malpractice over business deals that went sour.
A week before Chiantella's death, a $2.25 million claim in federal bankruptcy court was denied by a judge, meaning that Chiantella and others involved in the firm Marshall & Curry would not recover the money.
Court records show that Chiantella was swamped in debt and legal troubles for more than a year before his death.
Also licensed as a real estate and mortgage broker, Chiantella was providing investment advice and services to Venice resident Russell Cooke.
In his lawsuit, Cooke alleged that Chiantella had told him that his investment of about $500,000 was secured by mortgages on property when it was not, according to allegations in court records.
Cooke's lawsuit accused Chiantella of breaking conflict of interest rules by representing both Cooke and the person who was borrowing his money.
Chiantella later signed promissory notes pledging to repay the $900,000 — which included $348,000 that was lost in a Charlotte County mining venture.
Greenspan's Body Count stands at 223.