March 29, 2012
Attorney Stripped Of License
An attorney who owned a failing restaurant business decided to salvage the investment by turning it into a strip club named the Coyote Show Club. He solicited financial support from a client that he represented in a divorce and support matter. The client made a $25,000 loan.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court concluded that the attorney violated ethical rules governing business transactions with a client and conflicts of interest as well as dishonesty and ordered that the attorney be disbarred.
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel proved that the attorney had failed to disclose a number of relevant issues including the "staggering amount of unpaid debt" of the venture to the client and had never told the client that the investment was in a strip club.
The attorney called several witnesses to attempt to prove that the client knew about the strip club. A witness claimed that the client was present when the witness took his grandson to Coyote's for his 21st birthday. The evidence was rejected as incredible.
The attorney had also engaged in misconduct in an unrelated matter. The attorney neglected the client's matter and made false representations after the statute of limitations had run. as a result, the client testified that "her opinion of lawyers had changed for the worse."
The Attorney Disciplinary Board had recommended disbarment in light of the serious nature of the violations and the attorney's arrogance and lack of remorse. (Mike Frisch)
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