Sunday, January 21, 2018

Growing Pains

An attorney has been charged with criminal misconduct in a complaint recently filed by the Illinois Administrator

 In or around October or November 2015, David Heyn, Jr. ("Heyn") owned property located at 13212 Red Arrow Highway, Sawyer, Chikaming Township, Berrien County, Michigan ("Sawyer property"). During that same time, Heyn rented the Sawyer property to Billy Crum ("Crum"). The Sawyer property included a residential, single-story house, as well as an unattached, garage-like structure. While renting the Sawyer property, Crum used the unattached structure to illegally cultivate and manufacture marijuana plants, in what is commonly referred to as an indoor marijuana grow operation.

In or around October or November 2015, Respondent learned of Crum’s indoor marijuana grow operation, and contacted Crum to inquire about purchasing the operation at the Sawyer property.

Sometime between November and December 2015, Respondent, along with Thomas Fitzgerald, and a third individual known only as Eugene, agreed to purchase the marijuana grow operation from Crum for $100,000, which they paid through two separate cash payments of $25,000, and $75,000. The sale included Crum’s entire marijuana grow operation, including equipment, marijuana plants, and related inventory.

Between approximately December 2015 through June 9, 2016, Respondent operated the marijuana grow operation at the Sawyer property. Respondent also maintained contact with Crum, who visited the Sawyer property on several occasions to assist Respondent with the operation.

On June 9, 2016, in furtherance of its criminal investigation, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant for illegal narcotics and other related items at the unattached, garage-like structure on the Sawyer property. During the execution of the search warrant, officers located and seized 241 potted marijuana plants, 3.6 pounds of dried marijuana, grow lights, fans, work tables, power tools, a scale, a pH meter, and other miscellaneous marijuana growing equipment, as well as marijuana growing instructions, and a calendar related to Respondent’s indoor marijuana grow operation.

Following the execution of the search warrant, officers with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit contacted Heyn in furtherance of their investigation into the marijuana grow operation. Heyn confirmed that he owned the Sawyer property, and rented the property out to tenants. Heyn also provided officers with the copy of a check he received as rent payment for the Sawyer property. The check copy Heyn provided to officers was payable to Heyn in the amount of $1,200, and showed "March-April" in the memo line, "T. Fitzgerald" in the name section, and the signature of "Timothy Fitzgerald" on the signature line.

The criminal case

...the Berrien County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Respondent with criminal offenses in a three-count information in the Second Circuit Court of Berrien County, Michigan, in relation to the marijuana grow operation and items seized at the Sawyer property. The matter was captioned The People of the State of Michigan v. Timothy J. Fitzgerald, docket number 2017-000374-FH, and assigned to the Hon. Charles T. LaSata ("Judge LaSata"). Count One of the information charged Respondent with the felony offense of manufacturing over 200 plants of marijuana on or about June 9, 2016, in violation of Section 333.7401(2)(d)(i) of the Michigan Compiled Laws. Count Two charged Respondent with the felony offense of possession with intent to deliver marijuana on or about June 9, 2016, in violation of Section 333.7401(2)(d)(iii) of the Michigan Compiled Laws. Count Three charged Respondent with the misdemeanor offense of maintaining a drug house on or about June 9, 2016, in violation of Sections 333.7405(1)(d) and 333.7406 of the Michigan Compiled Laws. Respondent pleaded not guilty to all counts.

On September 15, 2017, following a two-day jury trial, the jury found Respondent guilty on all counts of the information. On October 16, 2017, Judge LaSata sentenced Respondent to 365 days in the Berrien County jail on Count One, and 180 days in the Berrien County jail on Counts Two and Three, along with court fines, fees and costs of $2,008.00, with all sentences to run concurrently.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported on a matter that was ongoing at the time of the attorney's arrest.

A 72-year-old attorney who represented Bottled Blonde was arrested on drug charges last week in Michigan, delaying the maligned River North establishment’s latest disciplinary hearing with city officials.

Timothy Fitzgerald was booked Friday into the Berrien County Jail in southwest Michigan, where he faces two felony counts of delivering or manufacturing marijuana, and one felony count of maintaining a drug house, a jail official said.

Fitzgerald — who has represented Bottled Blonde over the last four months as it faces scrutiny from the city over whether it has violated terms of its liquor license by operating primarily as a bar instead of a restaurant — was still being held at the jail as of Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday morning, the restaurant had been scheduled for its final hearing with the Local Liquor Control Commission before a city officer makes a recommendation on whether it gets to keep its liquor license.

Instead, in the wake of Fitzgerald’s arrest, Bottled Blonde’s owners asked for a delay as they search for new representation.

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


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