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Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Three, Suspends 13 in Latest Disciplinary Filing

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on Nov. 21, 2017. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Lance Haddix, Chicago

Mr. Haddix was licensed in Illinois in 1967 and in California in 1989. The Supreme Court of California disbarred him for violating multiple probation conditions after he had been suspended for one year in favor of a five-year period of probation, subject to a 30-day period of actual suspension, and other conditions. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

  • Beth Courtney Otero, Chicago

Ms. Otero, who was licensed in 2005, was disbarred. She misappropriated over $20,000 that she had been holding in escrow from two real estate transactions and engaged in a conflict of interest by representing opposing parties in a real estate transaction. Additionally, Ms. Otero fabricated court pleadings and engaged in the unauthorized practice of law after her name was removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys.

  • Jeffrey Lee Schlapp, Chicago

Mr. Schalpp, who was licensed in 2006, was disbarred on consent. He misappropriated more than $600,000 from at least nine different clients who had filed claims against nursing homes.

SUSPENDED

  • Edward Christopher Abderholden, Chicago

Mr. Abderholden, who was licensed in 1977, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court. He had been ordered suspended on September 22, 2016 for six months and until further order of the Court, with the suspension fully stayed by a two-year period of conditional probation for converting $2,666.50 in client funds and failing to timely pay medical providers on behalf of that same client. Because he failed to comply with the terms of his probation, the Court revoked his probation and vacated the stay of his suspension.

  • James Michael Chesloe, LaGrange

Mr. Chesloe, who was licensed in 1987, was suspended for sixty days. He prepared a will for a client, met with that client, and then instructed the client to sign the will outside the presence of witnesses. Later, Mr. Chesloe instructed a law office employee and another person to sign the witness attestation clause even though they had not been present when the client signed the will. As a result, the will was challenged and declared invalid after the client’s death. The suspension is effective December 4, 2017.

  • Daniel Joseph Depke, Hull

Mr. Depke, who was licensed in 1994, was suspended for ninety days. He neglected a client’s personal injury action in the Illinois Court of Claims, causing it to be dismissed with prejudice. He then failed to inform the client and a referring lawyer about the dismissal. The suspension is effective on December 4, 2017.

  • Sarah Jacquelynne Haasis, Sterling

Ms. Haasis, who was licensed in 2015, was suspended for six months. She submitted employment applications for two different positions to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Both applications contained false information about her previous employment, including the false representation that she had practiced law between 2012 and 2016. She also submitted resumes to IDOT that contained false information about her employment history and made false statements to IDOT’s Salary Administration Manager about her previous employment situation. IDOT hired Ms. Haasis as a property manager, but later terminated her after an internal investigation revealed the false documents and representations. The suspension is effective December 4, 2017.

  • Syed Mansoor Khan, Schaumburg

Mr. Khan, who was licensed in 2008, was suspended on an interim basis until further order of the Court. The ARDC Review Board recently recommended that he be suspended for eighteen months, stayed after nine months by an eighteen-month period of probation. He was found to have neglected two client matters, failed to communicate with those clients, did not refund $2,738 in unearned fees, made misrepresentations to a client, misappropriated $1,839 in client funds, and failed to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation. In addition, he is the subject of a second disciplinary proceeding currently pending before the ARDC Hearing Board. In that matter, he has been charged with neglecting two client matters, failing to communicate with those clients, misappropriating $1,500 in client funds, making misrepresentations to a client, and not cooperating with the ARDC. 

  • Peter J. Kovac, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mr. Kovac was licensed in Illinois and in Wisconsin in 1973. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin suspended him for ninety days for not having a required written fee agreement in a criminal case, failing to respond to attempts by a separate client to contact him, not complying with an appellate court order in that client’s case, and for failing to promptly turn over his file to successor counsel or timely provide a written response to Wisconsin disciplinary authorities in either matter. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for ninety days. The suspension is effective on December 4, 2017.

  • James G. Lisonbee, Lincoln, Nebraska

Mr. Lisonbee was licensed in Illinois in 2009 and in Nebraska in 2010. The Nebraska Supreme Court suspended him for three years. In one client’s divorce case, he repeatedly filed motions that did not comply with court rules, appeared in court unprepared, and then did not tell the client that the case had been dismissed. In another matter, after the client fired him, Mr. Lisonbee did not respond to new counsel’s repeated requests for the client’s file. Mr. Lisonbee then failed to respond to the Nebraska disciplinary authorities' requests for information. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for three years and until he is reinstated in Nebraska. The suspension is effective on December 4, 2017.

  • Brian Ray Merrell, Salem

Mr. Merrell, who was licensed in 2009, was suspended for sixty days and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a two-year period of conditional probation. He pled guilty to the offense of driving while under the influence of alcohol in 2012. In 2015, he pled guilty to the offense of illegal transportation of alcohol.

  • Julie Ann Meyer, Chicago

Ms. Meyer, who was licensed in 2009, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. She failed to comply with discovery deadlines in two cases, causing a court to enter summary judgment against one of her clients and monetary sanctions against another. In another unrelated matter, she billed her client for a status conference that she did not attend and falsely told her supervising partner that the case had settled.

  • Christopher Dean Olander, Odenton, Maryland

Mr. Olander was licensed in Illinois in 1973 and in Maryland in 1977. He was indefinitely suspended in Maryland, with reinstatement conditioned upon payment of restitution and other conditions. He neglected a client’s matter, failed to communicate with the client, took the client’s $11,000 retainer fee for himself prior to earning the fee, and failed to refund the unearned portion of the fee when the client terminated the representation. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him until further order of the Court and until he is reinstated in Maryland.

  • Carlo P. Palladinetti, Chicago

Mr. Palladinetti, who was licensed in 1985, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. He was found guilty of bank fraud in the Northern District of Illinois for his role in a real estate scheme to fraudulently obtain mortgages for condominiums and the subsequent planned sale of those properties to recruited buyers

  • Joseph Edward Pecko, Burr Ridge

Mr. Pecko, who was licensed in 1981, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a two year period of conditional probation. He was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

  • Babette Pauline Salus, Springfield

Ms. Salus, who was licensed in 1985, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. Following a contested hearing, the ARDC Hearing Board recommended that she be suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. The Board concluded that she engaged in conduct involving neglect, failed to refund unearned fees, commingled client funds, and knowingly made a false statement to subvert an ARDC investigation.

For additional information concerning these disciplinary orders, contact the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission.

Posted on Nov 21, 2017 by Sara Anderson | Comments (0)
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