March 12, 2013
Attorney Can't Represent Buyer And Seller
The New Jersey Supreme Court agreed with the recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board ("DRB") and imposed a reprimand of a Borough solicitor for a conflict of interest.
The DRB found
Respondent's violation of Rule 1.7 is clear. As Borough solicitor, respondent initiated in rem foreclosures on a group of properties and began the process of placing for sale tax lien certificates for the fourteen properties. He then arranged a deal whereby WIS and FDML, entities that he formed as attorney for his brother and...a long-time client and local developer, would purchase the tax lien certificates on the property.
Although the entire transaction took place in the light of day and was approved by Borough resolution, respondent acted on behalf of both buyer and seller to the transaction, an impermissible situation...
The DRB rejected the "no harm, no foul" claim
The unwaivable conflict here cannot be absolved by a good result, even assuming that the result is a good one.
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