‘Greedy Professor Pincus:’ Billboard appears around WCL protesting professor’s billing practices
Citizens for Pro-Business Delaware is planning to expand operations to GWU about allegations against professor
Signs have been put up around the Washington College of Law campus protesting WCL adjunct professor Robert Pincus for alleged unlawful overbilling practices.
For the past month, a business advocacy group has had a truck with a billboard attached to it, calling him “Greedy Professor Pincus,” parked in various locations near the WCL campus.
Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware, a group that advocates for judicial transparency, is alleging that Pincus used his court-appointed power to overbill companies that were temporarily placed under his control. Currently, there are two companies involved with complaints against Pincus.
The group has focused on the WCL because Pincus currently teaches at the school, and plans to put boards up near George Washington University once they receive confirmation that Pincus still actively lectures at the school, where he works as a professional lecturer. In addition to the signs and billboards, the group is mailing and handing out literature to his neighbors, and volunteers are stopping students and faculty members to explain what Pincus is accused of, according to Chris Coffey, the organization’s campaign manager.
“Instead of his class on ‘deals’ at the American University Washington College of Law, professor Pincus should teach a class on the backroom deals that allow elite corporate lawyers and judges in Delaware to enrich themselves at the expense of hard-working employees across the state and the country – clearly, he’s an expert,” Coffey said in a statement to Business Wire.
In 2016, ongoing personal conflicts between two co-CEOs of TransPerfect, a language translation service company, exploded into a struggle for ownership. Lawsuits were filed and a year later, the Delaware Court of Chancery, which primarily handles corporate-related legal actions, appointed Skadden Arps law firm and corporate attorney Robert Pincus to serve as the custodian of TransPerfect.
According to Delaware corporation law, a custodian has power over the company’s corporate assets, estate, effects, business and affairs. A custodian can also collect outstanding debts, claims, and property belonging to the corporation, as well as prosecute and defend in the name of the company.
As the custodian, Pincus was ordered to oversee a sale that would keep the company intact and increase its value for the company’s shareholders.
While custodian of TransPerfect, Pincus allegedly raised healthcare costs for employees exponentially, especially for workers of color while cutting benefits and bonuses for workers, according to Coffey. Coffey also alleged that Pincus had added many consultants from his law firm, using money from the company to fund his firm.
“This is money from the company that should not be used in a personal way whatsoever,” Coffey said in an interview with The Eagle.
Skadden Arps, where Pincus worked until retirement, has previously been accused by the National Hockey League for alleged overbilling practices while working a concussion lawsuit that was settled in 2018.
Coffey said Pincus has continued to bill TransPerfect $3.5 million annually but did not specify if he continued to bill them after being removed.
“Even this year, Skadden and former Custodian Pincus have billed $3.6 million, we have no idea what those bills are for,” Coffey said. “They’re sealed.”
Among students at the WCL, the responses to the allegations have been mixed.
Begüm Tiritoglu, a second-year law student studying human rights law at the WCL, was shocked by the accusations made against Pincus.
“I’m hoping this won’t get swept under the rug,” Tiritoglu said. “I want to see forums for open discussions on this to happen; especially if it’s concerning a professor at my college.”
Other students, such as Kelly McGrath, said the information available now is not enough to form an opinion on the issue.
“I just don’t know anything about [the issue], being honest, these are all still accusations so I can’t really say how I feel about the topic,” McGrath said.
When reached for comment, Pincus declined, citing that “as an arm of the Court, I have not commented publicly on any aspects of the proceedings.”
The Washington College of Law also declined to comment on Pincus and the advertising boards.
“We feel like this is someone who has continued to bill over $3.5 million to this company without listening to people’s concerns,” Coffey stated. “The only way he’s going to listen to our concerns is if we bring the concerns to him, and that’s what our plan is.”
The boards were up for three weeks, starting on Oct. 11, and Coffey said the group is reinstating boards near the WCL this week and the weeks following Thanksgiving.