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Ira M. Millstein, a venerable lawyer who crusaded for better independence by company boards of administrators, invoked his bipartisan bona fides in serving to to shepherd Ruth Bader Ginsburg onto the federal bench, and vigilantly helped New York Metropolis evade chapter within the mid-Nineteen Seventies, died on Wednesday at his dwelling in Mamaroneck, N.Y. He was 97.

His loss of life was confirmed by his daughter, Elizabeth Millstein Tremain.

Mr. Millstein skilled as an engineer at Columbia earlier than switching to regulation and was revered for his meticulousness and tact. He grew to become the senior associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, a New York-based regulation agency, the place he specialised in antitrust regulation and authorities regulation. As a member of the agency, he was enlisted to untangle company governance imbroglios at Bethlehem Metal, the Walt Disney Firm, Basic Electrical, Basic Motors, Macy’s, Tyco Worldwide and Westinghouse, amongst different corporations.

“All of our icons had been shedding out to international competitors and being subjected to takeovers,” he instructed The New York Instances in 2006, as he pressed for extra oversight of New York’s myriad public authorities as properly. “The place had been the boards? Inactive.”

All through his profession, Mr. Millstein pressed for extra aggressive company governance by administrators within the non-public sector. “The evolution of administrators is crucial to sustaining our system freed from additional intrusive regulation,” he mentioned in an interview with Technique+enterprise journal in 2005. He additional expounded on his views in a ebook, “The Activist Director: Classes From the Boardroom and the Way forward for the Company,” revealed in 2016.

He was additionally recruited to civic management roles that had been past the ken of politically-hobbled authorities bureaucracies.

He was chairman of the nonprofit Central Park Conservancy from 1991 to 1999. He was chosen to steer Gov. George E. Pataki’s New York State Fee on Public Authority Reform, which streamlined and illuminated a whole lot of quasi-independent companies. And he headed a particular mayoral fee charged with investigating the 1977 blackout that nearly paralyzed New York Metropolis. The panel concluded that the ability outage was attributable to Consolidated Edison’s poor administration and beneficial that the utility’s charges be minimize when it offered insufficient service.

Mr. Millstein’s voiced his assist for Ruth Bader Ginsburg throughout Senate hearings on her nomination to america Supreme Courtroom in 1993, noting in his testimony that he had recognized each her and her husband, Martin Ginsburg, since 1957, when Mr. Ginsburg was a summer time affiliate at Weil. He recalled President Jimmy Carter’s nomination of Choose Ginsburg to america Courtroom of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980, and in his telling it was languishing, and possibly useless.

“Opposition to Ruth was largely based mostly on the assertion that she was a single-issue lawyer — ladies’s rights,” Mr. Millstein testified. A lifelong Democrat, he contacted an outdated acquaintance, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the rating Republican on the Judiciary Committee, asking for an viewers in order that Mr. Hatch might “make up his thoughts on the proof, not on gossip and rumor,” he mentioned.

“The senator apparently concluded that Ruth Ginsburg was, certainly, a authorized scholar from no ideological faculty,” Mr. Millstein mentioned. “The opposition thereafter appeared to have melted away. And Ruth was confirmed and on her strategy to at this time.”

In October 1975, as New York Metropolis confronted a crippling fiscal meltdown, Mr. Millstein recommended metropolis officers to not declare chapter and as a substitute helped draft a proper petition testifying to municipal default. Signed by Mayor Abraham D. Beame, the petition was able to be served on the banks that had been town’s main collectors, and it was accompanied by a information launch that pointedly shifted accountability.

“I’ve been suggested by the comptroller,” the mayor said in the release, that town “has inadequate money available to fulfill debt obligations due at this time.”

On the final minute, municipal unions dipped into their pension funds to bail out town, and the signed petition was by no means invoked. For years it hung framed in Mr. Millstein’s Fifth Avenue regulation workplace.

All through his profession, Mr. Millstein pressed for extra aggressive company governance by administrators within the non-public sector, as he did on this 2016 ebook.Credit score…Columbia Enterprise Faculty

In “The Activist Director,” Mr. Millstein described town’s fiscal disaster as “among the many worst examples of poor company governance oversight I’ve seen.”

He additionally wrote that he was one in every of three Beame confidants who had been approached by Gov. Hugh L. Carey to influence the mayor to resign. They refused out of non-public loyalty to Mr. Beame.

Ira Martin Millstein was born on Nov. 8, 1926, in Manhattan to Harry and Birdie (Rosenbaum) Millstein. His father was a furnishings salesman; his mom managed the family.

After graduating from the Bronx Excessive Faculty of Science, he earned a Bachelor of Science diploma from the Columbia College Faculty of Engineering in 1946.

However engineering wasn’t for Mr. Millstein in spite of everything, and the assistant dean of Columbia Legislation Faculty, who was educating an undergraduate course in regulation for engineers, steered him towards a authorized profession. Mr. Millstein graduated from the regulation faculty in 1949.

He was later the founding chairman of the Millstein Center for World Markets and Company Possession at Columbia Legislation Faculty.

After working briefly as a particular assistant to america lawyer basic within the Justice Division’s antitrust division, he joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges in 1951. He relinquished day-to-day administration of the agency in 1999 however by no means retired.

In 1949, he married Diane Greenberg; she died in 2010. Along with his daughter, Elizabeth, he’s survived by a son, James E. Millstein, 5 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Each of his youngsters are attorneys. Two sisters, Lucille M. Etra and Marcia M. Miller, died. His marriage to Susan Marie Body in 2013 led to divorce

Amongst Mr. Millstein’s civic roles was chairman of the New York Governor’s Process Pressure on Pension Fund Funding, wherein he urged the state to make use of its property extra aggressively in issues of public and company coverage. He was additionally a advisor to the Enterprise Roundtable, a corporation of chief executives. As chairman of the Central Park Conservancy, he known as for native property house owners to be empowered to tax themselves to assist their neighborhood parks.

Describing his function in New York Metropolis’s fiscal disaster as “professional bono, official kibitzer,” Mr. Millstein recalled in an interview for this obituary in 2021 that on the night time town practically went bankrupt, he was dashing from his Midtown workplace to Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s residence, when he was held up by a person who demanded his pockets. When he opened it to indicate that every one he had was $10, the person mentioned, “Effectively, I’ll take that.”

“I mentioned, ‘Look, I’m on my method again to fulfill with the mayor,’” Mr. Millstein recalled. “‘The town is in massive bother. You bought to let me get my automotive out, and that’s the one $10 I’ve.’ He let me go, so I went to the storage, bought the automotive and went again to Gracie Mansion. The place else might one thing like that occur however within the metropolis of New York?”

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