Thursday, June 13, 2013
An Illinois Hearing Board has recommended a two-year suspension of an attorney who, as president and treasurer of a condominium association, used entrusted funds.
The board rejected the attorney's defenses and explanation:
We previously rejected the notion that Respondent was entitled to any of the Association funds as compensation for her services. Similarly, we reject any suggestion that her use of funds erroneously resulted from the fact the PIN number for her personal debit card was the same as the PIN number of the Association's debit card. That notion was effectively refuted, at least as to online purchases, by her admission that she had to type in the number appearing on the debit card when making the purchases. As to any of the other purchases, the sheer number of times the debit card was used belies any claim of an inadvertent mix-up of cards.
At hearing Respondent referred to her personal use of Association funds as an "error in judgment," but she fell short of admitting any outright dishonesty. We do not believe Respondent's actions were merely the result of poor judgment, as that phrase implies she may have acted without careful analysis or that she had reason, however slight, to believe her actions were correct. We saw no basis for any such assumption. On the contrary, the evidence showed a systematic pattern of using funds when they were available in the Association's account. Respondent's personal use of the Association's debit card on sixty-six occasions, coupled with evidence that she was not responsive to requests to discuss her purchases once they were discovered, indicates to us that she knew her actions were improper.
The attorney was subject to an ealier 30-day suspension.
The Administrar had sought disbarment. (Mike Frisch)