Saturday, April 20, 2024

Village People

An Illinois Hearing Board recommends a six-month suspension based on findings of misconduct

On September 30, 2022, the Administrator filed a one-count Complaint against Respondent, charging him with bringing a proceeding or asserting issues therein when there was no basis for doing so that was not frivolous and, in representing a client, using means that had no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay or burden others, in violation of Rules 3.1 and 4.4(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010). In his Answer, Respondent admitted some of the factual allegations but denied that his pleadings were frivolous or that he intended to embarrass, burden or delay anyone.

Facts

Respondent has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1982. He is a former police officer and assistant Cook County State’s Attorney. (Tr. 366-68). In 1992, he started his own practice focused on criminal defense. (Tr. 370). He is a former resident of the Village of Tinley Park (“the Village” or “Tinley Park”) but has lived in Florida since November 2021. (Tr. 371, 517, 612). As of the time of this hearing, he still maintained a law office in Tinley Park (Tr. 464, 517, 612).

Respondent has been involved in Tinley Park politics since at least 2009. (Ans. at par. 1). In 2012, he was appointed to the Village’s emergency management agency. (Tr. 383). In 2013, he ran for mayor but was not elected. (Tr. 515). During that election, the opposing candidate criticized Respondent’s practice of law and posted online about the dissolution of Respondent’s first marriage. (Tr. 516). In 2017, the Village mayor appointed Respondent to the position of emergency management agency coordinator, but the Village Board rejected the appointment and Respondent never served in that position. (Tr. 428-29).

Since 2014, Respondent has filed at least 26 lawsuits in state and federal courts against the Village and its elected officials, employees, volunteers, residents, and attorneys. In many of those cases, Respondent was the only plaintiff. He has also filed approximately 150 requests that the Village produce records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). (Ans. at par. 2). Patrick Carr has served as the village manager for Tinley Park since 2021. He was previously the assistant village manager and the director of emergency management. (Tr. 169). Carr is the chief administrative officer for the Village’s daily activities. (Tr. 171-73).

Carr initially had a cordial relationship with Respondent. However, after the Board declined to hire Respondent, he began filing more lawsuits, ethics complaints, and FOIA requests. (Tr. 177, 195). Carr testified that Respondent filed numerous ethics complaints about Carr that contained false information, questioned his integrity and stated he had lied. The complaints were public, and they came up when Carr applied for other jobs during that time period. (Tr. 178, 181). Respondent has named Carr as a defendant at least six times and has sought damages amounting to millions of dollars. The Village and its insurer have paid to defend Carr.

Proposed sanction

Consistent with Stolfo and Martin, we determine that a six-month suspension is appropriate for the proven misconduct. We recognize that a six-month suspension places obligations on an attorney that may be burdensome in some instances. In this case, we do not consider a six-month suspension to be unduly onerous because Respondent is on retired status and does not have clients to notify or an office to shut down.

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2024/04/an-illinois-hearing-board-recommends-a-six-month-suspension-respondent-has-been-licensed-to-practice-law-in-illinois-since-1.html

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

Comments

Post a comment