Infamous child killer Joel Steinberg is a deadbeat too — he hasn't been paying
up on the $15 million wrongful death verdict against him, court papers say.
In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday, Michele Launders, 52,
says the disbarred attorney has paid “no part of the principal of the judgment”
she was awarded for her daughter's death, and wants him to pay up.
In 2003, Justice Louis York ordered Steinberg to pay Launders $15 million for
the “heinous and outrageous crime.”
Launders was just 19 when she paid the lawyer $500 to find her newborn daughter
a good home.
Instead, Steinberg illegally adopted the child himself, and took her home to his
girlfriend, Hedda Nussbaum.
Steinberg repeatedly beat Nussbaum in front of Lisa, and allegedly would hit and
abuse the girl as well.
Her short life came to a terrible end in 1987, when Steinberg struck the little
girl and knocked her head against a wall, because, Nussbaum said, she’d “been
staring at him.”
“For several hours afterward, no medical assistance had been summoned for her,”
York wrote - even though Lisa started vomiting, had a “severe headache and an
inability to catch her breath.”
Instead of tending to her, Steinberg went out to dinner while Nussbaum tried to
take care of her. When he returned, he and Nussbaum smoked cocaine instead of
Lisa drifted in and out of consciousness, and slipped into a coma eight-10 hours
after her head was hit.
She died three days later.
A medical expert testified she could have survived if the couple had called 911.
Steinberg was convicted of manslaughter and spent 17 years in prison.
He challenged the wrongful death award, claiming he’d been a “doting” dad.
The new court filing says Steinberg, 73, made one payment — for $4,339.08 — in
2005, and has paid nothing since.
The suit says that sum counted a “partial payment” of the hundreds of thousands
of dollars he now owes in interest.
Steinberg has boasted that he had a “very, very substantial” pension from his
lawyer days, but those payments cannot be garnished.
He was reportedly working as a construction worker after his release.
Launders’ lawyer, Wayne Schaefer, would not say whether any efforts had been
taken to garnish any paychecks Steinberg might currently be receiving.
“I can’t talk about what’s been done or what’s being contemplated,” he said.
He said he filed the new action now simply to keep the judgment viable.
Steinberg could not immediately be reached for comment at his Harlem apartment.
A man who answered the intercom at the building said Steinberg was out of town