In 1986, Sills Beck Cummis Zuckerman Radin Tischman & Epstein, the name of the Firm at the time, began representing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in its search for purloined assets of the late deposed President Ferdinand E. Marcos and his wife Imelda.
At the outset, the Firm’s team on this matter only numbered three and included Clive Cummis, one of the Firm’s founders, current Member of the Firm Jeffrey J. Greenbaum and a former first-year Associate. This Sills Cummis team traced clues to establish financial links between the Marcos regime and a number of high net worth people in New Jersey and New York.
The work the Firm was doing for the Philippine Government was fast-paced and involved gathering a significant amount of information that was necessary to unravel the web of money transfers and purchases of property and other valuables that were completed in a number of different names and states.
In addition to obtaining the first judgment in the United States that restored property to the Philippine Government, the Firm recovered millions of dollars from real estate investments and art work traced to the Marcos family and its associates. The restored properties resulting in the first U.S. judgment were located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Lawrence Township, New Jersey – just outside Princeton. Funds were also recovered from the sales of the Crown Building, 40 Wall Street, Herald Center and 200 Madison Avenue in New York City, and from the sale of recovered artwork by Picasso, numerous impressionist painters and old world masters. Cummis and Greenbaum were able to present the proceeds from the first recovery personally to then Philippine President Corazon Aquino in New York City in September 1986 just before she made her first appearance as President before the General Assembly of the United Nations.