Thursday, November 15, 2012

No Mitigation For Alcoholism

The web page of the Ohio Supreme Court reports:

The Supreme Court of Ohio has permanently revoked the law license of  Cleveland attorney Kevin T. Toohig for multiple violations of state  attorney discipline rules, including conduct that resulted in his conviction in  federal court on a felony count of tax evasion.   Toohig’s license has been under an interim suspension since the court  was notified of his felony conviction in January 2011.

In a 7-0 per  curiam opinion, the court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on  Grievances and Discipline that in addition to the criminal conduct that resulted  in his conviction for evading more than $184,000 in federal taxes, Toohig also  engaged in a pattern of misconduct in which he misappropriated and failed to  make timely payment to clients of funds that were on deposit in his law office  trust account,  failed to maintain  required records accounting for deposits to and disbursements from that  account, and improperly transferred funds from the trust account to an account  in the name of a corporation that he owned for the purpose of sheltering funds  from creditors and to pay personal and law office expenses.

In a separate  incident, the court found that Toohig allowed a client who was a fugitive  evading arrest for a multi-million dollar theft from the State of Colorado to  wire more than $710,000 to Toohig’s client trust account, from which Toohig  immediately transferred $50,000 to his own business account despite state rules  that allow an attorney to withdraw legal fees from a client trust account only  after they have been earned.

In imposing  disbarment as the appropriate sanction for these and other rule violations, the  court rejected Toohig’s claim that alcoholism was a significant contributing  factor in his misconduct.  The court  pointed out that the conduct leading to Toohig’s tax evasion conviction took  place eight years before his diagnosis of chemical dependency in 2009, and also  noted that much of the mishandling of client funds and improper use of  his trust account for which Toohig was cited  took place in late 2009 and during 2010, after he had achieved sobriety.

The court concluded that Toohig’s pattern of  misconduct involving multiple offenses and clients  over an extended time period, including a  felony conviction and multiple incidents of conduct involving fraud, deceit,  dishonesty or misrepresentation, and conduct that adversely reflects on his  fitness to practice law, supported the disciplinary board’s recommendation that  he be permanently disbarred.

The opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2012/11/the-web-page-of-the-ohio-supreme-court-reports-the-supreme-court-of-ohio-has-permanently-revoked-the-law-license-of-clevela.html

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