April 13, 2010
A Louisiana Hearing Committee has recommended a three-year suspension, retroactive to a previously-ordered interim suspension, in a matter tried on primarily on stipulated facts. In one matter, the attorney's (now former) secretary "was kind enough to provide ODC with a deposition" in which she admitted misappropriating entrusted funds after the attorney had signed and given her blank checks from his operating account. In another matter, the attorney received legal fees when meeting a client's mother in a donut shop. The attorney agreed that he had violated a variety of ethics rules in several matters.
The attorney disputed "in part" that he had failed to cooperate with the investigation of the bar complaints. He had been arrested and pleaded guilty to attempted possession and possession of cocaine charges. He had been in drug rehabilitation in facilities in Louisiana and New York. While the committee found his testimony concerning his non-cooperation to be self-serving, it was unrefuted. The committee gave him the benefit of the doubt on that charge.
The committee found the attorney's substance abuse and recovery to be a mitigating factor. (Mike Frisch)
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