Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board has recommended disbarment of an attorney who was retained to resolve a tax matter. The client sold balloons at New York county fairs and was charged with failure to pay state taxes. The attorney failed to take action and misrepresented his lack of effort to the client. When asked to produce a fee accounting, the attorney submitted a bill for over $17,000. The board found his explanation that he had retained the records for two years after Hurricane Katrina, used these records to create his accounting and then destroyed the documents to be "unconvincing and inconceivable."
As to sanction:
The facts of this case are simple. First, Respondent made no attempt to pay off the tax debt, contrary to the desire [of] his client and his own representations. Second, Respondent claims to have earned the substantial fee, despite the lack of any supporting evidence. Third, Respondent has not refunded any portion of this fee to his client. This conduct has caused significant harm to [the client]-- his tax debt remains outstanding despite the fact that he expended an amount sufficient to pay the debt.
Is this what they mean by balloon payments? (Mike Frisch)