Friday, March 2, 2018
The California State Bar Court Hearing Department proposes disbarment of an attorney for misconduct in connection with a family-owned property
Respondent filed five bankruptcy petitions. With respect to two of the petitions, the bankruptcy court determined that they were “part of a scheme to delay, hinder and defraud creditors.” This court agrees with the bankruptcy court. In at least three of the five bankruptcies, Respondent abandoned his bankruptcy petitions once the mortgage company filed a motion for relief from the automatic stay or the automatic stay was lifted. Four of the bankruptcy matters were closed after Respondent failed to file required documents or failed to appear at mandatory proceedings. Clear and convincing evidence exists establishing that Respondent intentionally filed bankruptcy petitions specifically to delay foreclosures rather than to obtain bankruptcy relief. Respondent knowingly engaged in a scheme to delay, hinder and defraud creditors, which abused the bankruptcy system. “Such serious, habitual abuse of the judicial system constitutes moral turpitude in violation of section 6106.”
He had three prior bar discipline matters and here
Respondent knowingly engaged in a scheme to defraud creditors by repeatedly filling bankruptcy petitions to delay the foreclosure of the San Pedro property, made false representations and concealed facts from the bankruptcy court in an effort to mislead the court. Respondent’s multiple acts of wrongdoing are a significant aggravating factor.
This did not help
Respondent has shown indifference to his misconduct while exhibiting disregard and disrespect for these proceedings. Respondent refused to testify during the hearing in this matter and refused to call any witnesses. Respondent claimed that he was unable to testify because he was ill; yet he ably and aggressively cr0ss—examined the OCTC investigator in this matter. Respondent’s indifference demonstrates his failure “to appreciate the seriousness of the charges in the instant proceeding or to comprehend the importance of participating in the disciplinary proceedings. [Citation.]” (Conroy v. State Bar (1990) 51 Cal.3d 799, 805.)
Moreover, as evidence of his disrespect, Respondent referred to these proceedings as a “mockery” and “a kangaroo kourt.” “It is well settled that an attomey’s contemptuous attitude toward the disciplinary proceedings is relevant to the determination of an appropriate sanction. [Citations.]” (Weber v. State Bar (1988) 47 Cal.3d 492, 507.) Respondent’s indifference is a significant aggravating factor.