Leonard Decof, Attorney In RISDIC Bailout, Passes Away

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Prominent trial lawyer Leonard Decof, who helped organize the resolution of the state’s privately insured credit unions after the 1990 collapse of Rhode Island Share and Indemnity Corp., one of the worst crisis in the history of credit unions, died on New Year’s Eve at 86.

Decof was asked by newly elected Governor Bruce Sundlun in 1991 to represent the state in prosecuting civil claims that followed the collapse of the insurance system, known as RISDIC, which insured the deposits of state chartered credit unions. The failure of RISDIC prompted legislators in dozens of states to bar private insurance for credit unions, leading to the termination of more than a dozen private insurers. The only one to survive is ASI of Dublin, Ohio.

Over the next five years Decof recovered hundreds of millions of dollars representing the Depositors Economic Protection Corp., which floated $3.5 billion of government guaranteed bonds to pay off depositors of 45 privately insured Rhode Island credit unions, and later recovered $103 million from Ernst & Young, the auditor for the private insurance failure.

Decof founded Rhode Island’s only law firm devoted exclusively to plaintiff’s causes in 1975, Decof & Grimm (later Decof & Decof), and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on several occasions.


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