Monday, April 1, 2019
The District of Columbia Disciplinary Counsel has filed a complaint alleging a host of ethics violations by an attorney who represented the Reverend Merrie Turner in her effort to hold an inauguration day prayer breakfast in the Presidential Ballroom of the Trump International Hotel in 2017.
The hotel sought to avoid the contract by invoking a force majeure clause.
The reverend took exception and retained respondent to pursue a claim against the alleged culprit - the 58th Presidential Inauguration Committee.
The breakfast went off as planned, but the concerns remained.
Respondent filed suit in Superior Court against the inauguration committee, seeking $1 million damages for tortious interference with contractual relations. Before the suit, he had reached out to Manafort associate Rick Gates in an effort to resolve the dispute through negotiation.
He is alleged to have used advanced funds designated for litigation costs for his own purposes (such as a gym membership and his personal phone bill).
He also allegedly misused a portion of the $40,000 settlement achieved in the litigation. The failure to pay Rev. Turner from the settlement proceeds led to her bar complaint.
The most serious of the ensuing bar charges allege that he intentionally and/or recklessly misappropriated entrusted funds. The presumptive sanction if this charge is proven is disbarment.
The case is In re Michael G. Hoehn, Docket No. 2017-D345. (Mike Frisch)