May 16, 2011
Drug Addict's Rhetoric Fails To Prevent Disbarment
An attorney was disbarred by the New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department. The court did not buy his explanation for violations relating to the handling of entrusted funds:
In mitigation, the respondent testified at the hearing that no client ever complained that they were short-changed money. The sole purpose of his escrow account was to safeguard clients' funds between execution of the contract and the closing. When the time for a closing came, he deposited either his own personal funds or funds that he borrowed from others so that clients were paid the full amounts due them.
The Special Referee concluded his report as follows: "Despite respondent's remorse, he remains a drug addict whose plans to seek Bar Assistance are unconvincing, and unfortunately, appear to be nothing more than a manufactured effort to manipulate the process with rhetoric at the twenty-fourth hour."
Absent evidence of the respondent's continued abstinence from drugs and/or alcohol or efforts on his part to enroll in a court-approved Lawyers' Assistance Program, the respondent poses a substantial threat to the public notwithstanding his claims that he is no longer practicing law.
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