October 19, 2011
Assistant AG Reprimanded
An Illinois Assistant Attorney General agreed to a reprimand for conduct during the course of litigation involving a condominium. He wanted to view the property at issue.
Upon arriving, Respondent looked around the outside of the building and found that he could not tell from publically [sic] accessible places how the basement was outfitted. With Ipjian, he approached the main door to the building and found it was locked. Without telling Ipjian his intent, he rang the bell and falsely informed the building manager who came to the door that he and Ipjian were siblings, and that they were interested in viewing the building because their grandmother was interested in moving from Wisconsin. At no time did Respondent inform the building manager that he and Ipjian were the attorneys prosecuting the case against the owners of Onan Senior Suites.
Based upon the information that Respondent provided to the building manager regarding his grandmother’s purported desire to move to the building, the building manager showed Respondent and Ipjian areas of the building that were not accessible to the public, including the finished areas of the basement/garage, a one-bedroom unit, and a two-bedroom unit. At no time prior to entering the building did Respondent advise opposing counsel of his intent to view the building.
As to sanction:
In mitigation, is 49 years old and has not been disciplined previously since his admission in 1992. His entire career has been devoted to working for public service organizations such as the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, the HIV/AIDS project, Lifespan, the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing, and the Office of the State Appellate Defender. Before Respondent was licensed to practice law, he was employed as a fair housing tester, and in this matter, he resorted to testing methods which he had used in that capacity. He has acknowledged that his role as counsel in the case made those methods improper, and regrets his failure to recognize that at the time he acted.
In aggravation, Respondent, as an assistant Attorney General, was a public advocate whose duties were to promote and protect the rights of people in Illinois. However, in prosecuting a case, he directly lied to a person at the site at issue in the lawsuit in order to gain information to assist him in prosecuting his case. Based on Respondent’s work history, he should have known that gaining evidence by means of deception was improper.
Wonder how Onan Senior Suites got its name. (Mike Frisch)
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