Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership

Illinois Supreme Court disbars 6, suspends 14 in latest disciplinary filing

The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on January 21, 2016, during the January Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • David Andre Bertha, Chicago

Mr. Bertha, who was licensed in 2002, was disbarred and he is required to pay certain restitution as a condition of any reinstatement. He converted over $13,000 in client escrow funds, neglected client matters entrusted to him, made scurrilous accusations and threats against judges, lawyers and others, and tendered a false court order and bank statement to a client.

  • Anthony Campanale, Chicago

Mr. Campanale, who was licensed in 1980, was disbarred on consent. He pled guilty to a federal charge of mail fraud affecting a financial institution. In his plea, he admitted to participating in a scheme to defraud lenders and their successors and to obtain money and property from lenders by means of materially false and fraudulent representations.

  • Robert Kenneth Lock, Jr., Chicago

Mr. Lock, who was licensed in 1989, was disbarred on consent. While suspended from the practice of law in a prior disciplinary matter, he engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in a foreclosure matter and misled his client and other attorneys about his handling of that matter.

  • Howard Reich, Chicago

Mr. Reich, who was licensed in 1980, was disbarred. He continued to represent clients in real estate matters while he was suspended from the practice of law due to previous misconduct. He also failed to comply with Supreme Court requirements governing suspended lawyers.

  • Paul Leslie Shelton, Hinsdale

Mr. Shelton, who was licensed in 1985, was disbarred. He improperly entered into a business transaction with a client, fraudulently notarized a document affecting that client’s interests, and made a false statement in a legal action concerning the client’s interests. In a separate matter, he acted as the real estate broker and an attorney in the same transaction, and he received brokerage commissions before he obtained his real estate brokerage license. He also neglected client matters, failed to adequately communicate with clients, charged and collected unreasonable fees, failed to deposit client money into a client fund account, and failed to withdraw from client matters after he was discharged.

  • George Mark Zuganelis, Chicago

Mr. Zuganelis, who was licensed in 1978, was disbarred on consent. He misappropriated $520 in funds that he received for expenses in an immigration matter and made false statements to his client about the status of her immigration petition.

SUSPENDED

  • Shannan Hayes Bedgood, Oak Park

Ms. Bedgood, who was licensed in 1995, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. She was charged with misdemeanor retail theft. She failed to cooperate with the ARDC investigation into the matter and did not appear at her own disciplinary hearing.

  • William Byron Blanchard, Geneva

Mr. Blanchard, who was licensed in 1973, was suspended for 90 days. While representing the sellers in a real estate transaction, he misappropriated $3,500 in earnest money that he had agreed to hold as escrowee. The suspension is effective on February 11, 2016.

  • Frank Joseph Edelen, Palos Hills

Mr. Edelon, who was licensed in 1993, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court. He commingled personal funds in his trust fund account. In addition, he failed to cooperate with the ARDC and did not appear for his own disciplinary hearing.

  • Harry P. Friedlander, Phoenix, Az.

Mr. Friedlander was licensed in in Illinois in 1974 and in Arizona in 1978.  The Supreme Court of Arizona suspended him for 60 days, with the suspension to be followed by a two-year period of probation. He neglected a client’s debt collection cases and failed to keep his client informed of the status of matters. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for sixty days, followed by a term of probation subject to the conditions imposed in Arizona and until his probation is successfully completed there. The suspension is effective on February 11, 2016.

  • John Joseph Lynch, Chicago

Mr. Lynch, who was licensed to practice in 1994, was suspended for 30 days. He represented a client in an employment matter and, after taking initial action in the case, failed to pursue her action or communicate with her. He also practiced law after his name had been removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys for failing to register or complete his required continuing legal education requirements. The suspension is effective on February 11, 2016.   

  • Johnny McCraw, Jr., Chicago

Mr. McCraw, who was licensed in 2004, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court. In 2015, he was suspended for two years, with the suspension stayed in its entirety, by a two-year period of conditional probation. He had earlier pled guilty to possessing a controlled substance and, after being sentenced to a two-year period of probation, he violated the terms of his criminal probation by using alcohol and a controlled substance. Because he violated the terms of his disciplinary probation by using a controlled substance, and thereafter failed to appear for several random drug screens, the Court revoked his probation.

  • Herbert Edgar McMeen, Murphysboro

Mr. McMeen, who was licensed in 1980, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court and he is required to pay certain restitution as a condition of any reinstatement. He misappropriated approximately $4600 of estate funds while acting as executor of an estate. He also improperly deposited his own funds into his client trust account and failed to cooperate in the disciplinary proceedings.

  • Joseph Allan Morris, Chicago

Mr. Morris, who was licensed in 1976, was suspended for 90 days. He was not diligent in pursuing two separate cases, an arbitration matter and a civil lawsuit, on behalf of the same client, and also made false statements to the client about the status of the civil suit. The suspension is effective on February 11, 2016.

  • Grant Richard Niehus, Deerfield

Mr. Niehus, who was licensed in 1980, was suspended for a period of 90 days. He engaged in the unauthorized practice of law after his name was removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys for failing to complete his minimum continuing legal education and not registering to practice as required by Supreme Court rule. While removed from the Master Roll, he handled at least twelve different legal matters for clients. The suspension is effective on February 11, 2016.   

  • Ron L. Richards, II, Lake Villa

Mr. Richards, who was licensed in 2005, was suspended for 18 months and until further order of the Court. He neglected two separate client matters, misappropriated $446 in client funds, and failed to cooperate with the ARDC. He did not appear at his own disciplinary hearing.

  • Joel Clark Runkle, Grayslake

Mr. Runkle, who was licensed in 1992, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court and until he makes certain restitution. He neglected a client’s real estate matter and he failed to keep that client reasonably informed about the status of her matter.

  • Frank Anthony Santilli, Chicago

Mr. Santilli, who was licensed in 1989, was suspended for five months. In 2014, he was suspended for six months, with the suspension stayed after thirty days by a two-year period of conditional probation. He used client settlement funds for his own business purposes, delayed returning funds to a client, failed to pursue an EEOC claim for another client, and advanced prohibited financial assistance to a client. Because he failed to comply with the terms of his probation, he was suspended for the remaining balance of his prior suspension.

  • Steven Walter Whitmore, Rockford

Mr. Whitmore, who was licensed in 2005, was suspended from the practice of law for 30 days. He failed to diligently pursue a client’s post-decree dissolution of marriage matters, made a number of false statements to that client about court dates being scheduled and continued, and initially failed to cooperate with the ARDC. The suspension is effective on February 11, 2016.

  • Keith Elliott Yard, Morris

Mr. Yard, who was licensed in 1989, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court. He was convicted of one offense of DUI and three offenses of driving while his license was suspended. In addition, he failed to cooperate with the ARDC investigation into his conduct and did not appear at his own disciplinary hearing.

CENSURED

  • Donald Lee Homyk, Chicago

Mr. Homyk, who was licensed in 1982, was censured. He agreed to represent a client in filing a lawsuit against her condominium association. Although he received his requested flat fee of $3,500 and an advance of $337 in filing costs, he did not file a lawsuit on his client’s behalf and, instead, converted the cost advance. When his client complained to the ARDC, he initially failed to cooperate.

  • Brian James Russell, Oswego

Mr. Russell, who was licensed in 1999, was censured. He pled guilty to domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor, and was sentenced to serve a 24-month term of probation.

 

THE FOLLOWING LAWYERS WERE PLACED ON DISABILITY INACTIVE STATUS:

  • David Kiesler, Chicago
  • Michael D. Pechnick, Chicago

THE FOLLOWING LAWYER WAS PLACED ON PERMANENT RETIREMENT STATUS:

  • Michael Lowell Needler, Northbrook
Posted on Jan 22, 2016 by Chris Bonjean | Comments (0)
Filed under

Topic:

ISBA Members login to post comments