February 18, 2011
The New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department accepted an attorney's resignation and imposed disbarment. The court set out the allegations:
[The attorney] is aware of a pending investigation by the Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District (hereinafter the Grievance Committee) into allegations of professional misconduct based upon a complaint filed against him by...his son-in-law (hereinafter the complainant). It is alleged that in the mid-1990's, [the attorney] introduced the complainant to a friend, James Salters, and that both Salters and [the attorney] solicited the complainant to invest in Danismine Corporation, which involved residential properties on Long Island. Investments were purportedly used to acquire, rehabilitate, and sell properties. [The attorney] allegedly met with the complainant on a monthly basis to discuss purchases and sign contracts acknowledging the purchases. The complainant alleges that over 300 properties were purchased and sold and he believes that he had millions of dollars in equity and investments. In or between 2005 and 2006, Bush allegedly induced the complainant to invest in a real estate project in the southeastern United States. In or about 2007, the complainant learned that most of the alleged purchases of real properties on Long Island involved fictitious transactions.
The complainant alleges that [the attorney] engaged in a so-called Ponzi scheme by reporting purchases of properties and refunding a small portion of his principal as gains but rolling most of the money, as well as new investments, into the continuing scheme. [He] allegedly falsely and fraudulently verified that he attended closings on behalf of Danismine and fraudulently executed satisfactions in order to clear title on at least one of the properties where the transaction actually occurred.
[The attorney] acknowledges that he cannot successfully defend himself on the merits of the aforementioned pending complaint. [He] avers that he is in declining health, that his memory is faulty and that he and his wife, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, reside in an assisted living facility. He avers that he, too, lost whatever money he invested with Salters.
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Presumably the son-in-law will now make a claim to the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection? Indeed, I wonder if that was really the entire purpose in this otherwise irrelevant process?
Reading between the lines, the attorney is clearly blaming the partner for the losses and alleging that he was also his victim. When he, and the court, state that he is unable to defend himself, he means that literally. In other words, he is doing this, not because he has no defense, but simply because he no longer has the capacity to defend himself. How is that free will?
What a way to end a legal career. If he truly is the conman that he is alleged to be, then he can be proud of having lived his life off the wealth of others knowing that even now, the rest of us will be forced to make good on his deceit through the Client Protection Fund. And if not, then he will die knowing that a reputation of 60 years of practice has been trashed and that there was nothing that he could do about it. Though maybe when one is sitting in some wretched nursing home waiting to die, even that doesn't matter anymore.
Posted by: FixedWing | Feb 19, 2011 4:58:20 AM