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Illinois Supreme Court disbars 6, suspends 31 in latest disciplinary filing

The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on September 25, 2013, during the September Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Soodong Choi, Buffalo Grove

Mr. Choi, who was licensed in 1997, was disbarred on consent. He made misrepresentations on a mortgage note, a loan modification agreement and a quitclaim deed, and made false statements to the ARDC in order to impede an investigation into his misconduct.

  • Yinkang Hu, Chicago

Mr. Hu, who was licensed in Illinois in 1993 as a Foreign Legal Consultant on the laws of China, was disbarred for practicing in substantive areas of law beyond the limited scope of his license and after his name had been removed from the Master Roll for failing to register.

  • Philip Andrew Igoe, Chicago

Mr. Igoe, who was licensed in Illinois in 1977, was disbarred on consent. He pled guilty to mail fraud in federal court. He devised and participated in a scheme to defraud and obtain money and property from thirteen different individuals in financial difficulty and facing a foreclosure sale of their residence by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.

  • Donald L.F. Metzger, Chicago

Mr. Metzger, who was licensed in 1970, was disbarred. He breached a fiduciary duty to an elderly client when he took approximately $651,000 from the client’s estate and trust to pay himself for managing the client’s care and for disposing of the client’s estate after her death. He also failed to fulfill the terms of the client’s will and trust.

  • Jason William Smiekel, Algonquin

Mr. Smiekel, who was licensed in 2006, was disbarred on consent. He pled guilty in federal court of a murder-for-hire scheme and was sentenced to a 102-month prison term. Mr. Smiekel agreed to pay $20,000 to an undercover agent to kill his girlfriend's ex-husband. He was suspended on an interim basis on November 15, 2011.

  • James Scott Smith, Oak Park

Mr. Smith, who was licensed in 1986, was disbarred. He neglected five different client matters, made misrepresentations to four of those clients, forged an attorney’s name on a court document, falsely impersonated that same attorney in court, and failed to cooperate with the ARDC investigation into his misconduct.

SUSPENDED

  • Cory Jay Aronovitz, Chicago

Mr. Aronovitz, who was licensed in 1993, was suspended for three months. He failed to properly segregate funds given to him by a third party for investment purposes, converted $5,000 of those investment funds to his own purposes, and made misrepresentations about the investment in a letter to the investor. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • James Thomas Ball, Harbert, Mich.

Mr. Ball, who was licensed in 1984, was suspended for three months. He falsely stated in a settlement agreement that his insurer, from whom he had received a claims award, had no interest in his claim against the City of Chicago after his vehicle was booted and towed. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Alvin George Brooks, Jr., Chicago

Mr. Brooks, who was licensed in 1983, was suspended for five months and until he makes restitution of $5,000 to former clients and completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. He breached his fiduciary duty and engaged in a conflict of interest when he was paid $5,000 to represent clients in what the clients believed to be a transaction to save their home from foreclosure, but which was, in fact, a sale of their home. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Michael John Caithamer, Grayslake

Mr. Caithamer, who was licensed in 1988, was suspended for one year, with all but the first five months stayed in favor of a one-year period of probation, subject to conditions. He mismanaged $14,722.59 in proceeds received in connection with an uninsured motorist claim and misrepresented the status of a Medicare lien. In addition, he was found guilty of the crime of attempt obstructing service of process for misrepresenting his identity when a sheriff’s deputy tried to serve him with a court order and a rule to show cause. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • John J. Corbett, Chicago

Mr. Corbett, who was licensed in 1981, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court, with all but the first five months stayed by a two-year period of probation. As a result of poor bookkeeping and his failure to properly reconcile his trust account, over a four-year period, he converted an aggregate of $148,545.70 in settlement funds belonging to clients and medical lienholders from 13 different matters. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Leon Irwin Edelson, Bannockburn

Mr. Edelson, who was licensed in 1988, was suspended for three years and until further order of the Court and until he makes certain restitution. He neglected four patent and trademark matters for a client and made misrepresentations to that client about two of the matters he was handling for him. Mr. Edelson also made false statements about what he did on behalf of the client to the United States Patent and Trademark Office during its investigation into his conduct.

  • John Edward Glennon, Northbrook

Mr. Glennon, who was licensed in 1977, was suspended for three years. He caused his consulting company to enter a sham agreement with a construction company in order to receive proceeds from bonds issued for a construction project. Mr. Glennon was convicted of misprision of a felony for failing to report the misapplication of the bond proceeds. He also failed to report to the ARDC the misconduct of another attorney. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Daniel F. Goggin, Greenville

Mr. Goggin, who was licensed in 1992, was suspended for five months. He failed to diligently represent a client and subsequently entered into an agreement with that client to prospectively limit his malpractice liability. He also entered into a business transaction with another client without proper disclosures and failed to safeguard client funds. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • David Richard Jordan, Oak Park

Mr. Jordan, who was licensed in 1976, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. In two probate matters, he steered the sale of estate property to his relatives for a quick sale. He also made false statements to a probate court and others, engaged in conflicts of interest in representing both the buyers and the seller in the sale of estate property, and made false statements to the ARDC to impede an investigation into his conduct.

  • Andreas Kirsch, Bettendorf, Iowa

Mr. Kirsch, who was licensed in 2008, was suspended for 90 days. While living in Germany but working for an Illinois corporation, using letterhead stationary that identified him as an Illinois attorney, he fraudulently obtained business visas for his Turkish girlfriend so that she could visit him in Germany. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • William Briskin Kohn, Chicago

Mr. Kohn, who was licensed in 1987, was suspended for 30 days. Between 2007 and 2011, he failed to file an appellate brief for a client despite receiving extensions within which to do so and delayed the return of the record of appeal despite multiple requests for it from the court. He also failed to initially cooperate with the ARDC. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Peter George Limperis, Burbank

Mr. Limperis, who was licensed in 1990, was suspended for 30 days and was ordered to complete a law office management course. While representing the buyer of a restaurant, he agreed to hold certain funds in connection with the sale, but later commingled $2,760 of those funds. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Shawn Fullerton Luedde, Chicago

Mr. Luedde, who was licensed in 2004, was suspended for 18 months and until further order of the Court. He neglected a client’s worker’s compensation matter and made numerous misrepresentations to the client over a six-month period. He also failed to cooperate with the ARDC and did not appear at his disciplinary proceeding.

  • Tania Andrea McCants, Chicago

Ms. McCants, who was licensed in 2009, was suspended for 90 days. While enrolled in an LLM program at John Marshall Law School, she plagiarized a substantial portion of a final paper submitted in furtherance of her degree. After she was informed that she faced possible discipline at the law school, she applied to the DePaul University College of Law LLM program but did not inform DePaul that she was facing possible discipline at John Marshall. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Jon Dwain McLaughlin, Bloomington

Mr. McLaughlin, who was licensed to practice in 2007, was suspended for 90 days. While representing a client in a pending dissolution of marriage case, he redacted the date on a letter he attached as an exhibit to a motion, and made false statements to the court about the date he received the letter. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Laura J. Morask, Park Ridge

Ms. Morask, who was licensed in 1987, was suspended for 30 days. While a candidate in a contested judicial election, she made false statements on a legal blog about a prior ARDC investigation into her conduct as a prosecutor. In addition, while serving as an Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney, she made an improper closing argument in a murder prosecution. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Peter Angelo Palivos, Rosemont

Mr. Palivos, who was licensed in 1983, was suspended for three years, retroactive to January 31, 2006, the date of his interim suspension. He was convicted in the United District Court for the Northern District of Illinois of conspiracy to obstruct justice in a federal investigation into the sale of a restaurant of which he was a part owner.

  • Lawrence Francis Patterson, Downers Grove

Mr. Patterson, who was licensed in 1968, was suspended for 60 days and ordered to complete the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. He engaged in a conflict of interest when he sought to have himself appointed guardian for an elderly client after she discharged him after rejecting his advice considering whether to accept a settlement offer in litigation in which he represented her. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Neil Allen Payne, Peoria

Mr. Payne, who was licensed in 1995, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after ninety days by a three-year period of probation subject to conditions. He failed to diligently pursue six personal injury and workers’ compensation cases and failed to adequately communicate with clients. In three instances, the matters were dismissed without his clients' knowledge and he misrepresented to those clients that the cases were pending after they had been dismissed. Mr. Payne also failed to timely return an unearned fee to a client. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • David Jay Peilet, Clarendon Hills

Mr. Peilet, who was licensed in 1988, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after three months by two years of probation subject to conditions. He converted $3,948 of a client’s bond refund and then did not initially cooperate with the ARDC. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Rogelio Pena, Chicago

Mr. Peña, who was licensed in 1985, was suspended for six months and until he completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. He formed an improper partnership with non-lawyers for the purpose of handling loan modifications for distressed homeowners, failed to explain matters to the client-homeowners, shared legal fees with non-lawyers and aided those same non-lawyers in the unauthorized practice of law. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Allan R. Popper, Oak Brook

Mr. Popper, who was licensed in 1974, was suspended for six months, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a two-year period of conditional probation. He mishandled $27,734 in client funds relating to an insurance collection matter.

  • Ron L. Richards II, Lake Villa

Mr. Richards, who was licensed in 2005, was suspended for nine months and until he makes certain restitution. In connection with a divorce proceeding, he made false statements to his client and, in two pleadings, made misrepresentations to the court regarding the date of filing of the divorce petition and the addresses of certain persons. Without his client’s authority, he also signed his client’s name to a certification attesting to the accuracy of those same facts.

  • Jorge Antonio Rodriguez, Mundelein

Mr. Rodriguez, who was licensed in 2010, was suspended for 30 days. He published a misleading advertisement and had office signage that identified his non-attorney paralegal as an attorney. In addition, he was convicted of two different criminal offenses: violating a Virginia domestic order of protection and possessing marijuana while entering a federal building. He initially made misrepresentations to the ARDC regarding the marijuana conviction. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Kelly A. Saindon, Chicago

Ms. Saindon, who was licensed in 1998, was suspended for two years, with reinstatement conditioned upon her completion of the ARDC Professionalism Seminar and proof that she made certain restitution. While serving as president and treasurer of her condominium association, she used approximately $5,700 in funds belonging to the association for her own benefit without authorization from the association or advising the association of her actions. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

  • Richard F. Scholz, III, Quincy

Mr. Scholz, who was licensed in 1977, was suspended for 90 days, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a two-year period of probation with conditions. He neglected an estate matter as well as a post-divorce matter and initially failed to cooperate with the ARDC.

  • Dean Lloyd Sutton, Silvis

Mr. Sutton, who was licensed in 1979, was suspended for 90 days. He neglected to transfer certain properties owned by the client into a limited liability company. When he did act to transfer ownership of the properties, he advised the client to falsify the execution dates on three quitclaim deeds in an effort to affect the date at which the client’s wife would become eligible for Medicaid benefits. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013.

The following orders were entered by the court prior to the September 2013 term but were not included in any previous release.

  • Lanre O. Amu, Chicago

Mr. Amu, who was licensed in 1996, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. He made false statements of material fact to tribunals and also made false statements concerning the qualifications or integrity of judges. The ARDC Hearing Board has recommended that he be suspended for three years and until further order of the Court.

  • Michael Nunan Cook, Belleville

Mr. Cook, who was licensed in 1999, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. He was charged in a federal criminal information with unlawful use of a controlled substance while in the possession of firearms and with possession of heroin. The charges remain pending.

  • Rufus Lynwood Cook, Chicago

Mr. Cook, who was licensed in 1959, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. He represented both the buyers and the seller in a transaction in which he had a personal interest. He also failed to disclose to the buyers, who lost their entire investment, about his financial arrangement with the sellers and his receipt of half of the money paid by the buyers to the seller. The ARDC Hearing Board has recommended that he be disbarred.

  • Stacy Ann Igoe, Chicago

Ms. Igoe, who was licensed in Illinois in 1992, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. She pled guilty to contempt of court in connection with the filing of a client’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. She electronically signed and filed the petition knowing that it contained a false, fictitious and fraudulent statement.

 

CENSURED

  • Robert Carl Gebert, Oak Park

Mr. Gebert, who was licensed in 1986, was censured and ordered to complete the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. While representing a nonprofit company in various matters, he entered into agreements to lease and sell real property to that company on behalf of a separate company in which he had an ownership interest. His law firm later made a $25,000 loan to the nonprofit company’s executive director. In none of those transactions did he ever disclose that his interests in the transactions could be inconsistent with the client’s interests.

  • Richard J. Ryan, Oak Lawn

Mr. Ryan, who was licensed in Illinois in 1994, was censured. He mismanaged client funds when he withdrew fees earned in a case before depositing his client’s settlement funds.

REPRIMANDED

  • Steven Barry Levy, Deerfield

Mr. Levy, who was licensed in 1979, was reprimanded. He wrongly refused to pay a referral fee to another lawyer who had referred a series of cases to Mr. Levy.

  • Barbara Ann Susman, Chicago

Ms. Susman, who was licensed in 1983, was censured. She did not have a good faith basis to file a second reconsideration motion in civil litigation. Because her pleadings necessitated additional court appearances and hearings, her actions were found to be prejudicial to the administration of justice. In addition, she practiced law after her name had been removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys for failing to register.


THE FOLLOWING ATTORNEY WAS PLACED ON PERMANENT RETIREMENT STATUS

  • Raymond Joseph Sanders, Chicago

THE FOLLOWING ATTORNEY WAS PLACED ON DISABILITY INACTIVE STATUS

  • Peter Michael Blackburn, Springfield

 

Posted on Sep 25, 2013 by Chris Bonjean | Comments (0)
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