Supreme Court disciplines 26 attorneys
The Florida Bar announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 26 attorneys.
Two are from Jacksonville:
• Thomas Harold Greene, Jr., 12809 Camellia Bay Drive W., Jacksonville, suspended until further order, following an Oct. 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) A Bar investigation found that Greene misappropriated funds from his trust account, charged excessive fees in contingency cases, failed to make timely payments owed to third parties and commingled personal funds with his trust funds. He also failed to maintain trust account records and procedures in compliance with Bar rules.
• Robert Patrick Selzer, 5 W. Forsyth St., Jacksonville, suspended for 30 days, effective 30 days from a Sept. 3 court order. Further, Selzer shall pay restitution of $350 to one client. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Selzer was paid $3,000 to handle a divorce. He subsequently failed to communicate. After paying additional money in order to continue to trial, Selzer failed to attend a hearing. When the problems with communication persisted the client called the Bar and learned that Selzer was delinquent and ineligible to practice law. The client was forced to retain and pay for another attorney.
Others disciplined include:
• Wilfredo Oscar Allen, 2250 S.W. Third Ave., Suite 100, Miami, suspended for 30 days following an Oct. 9 court order. Further, Allen shall pay restitution of $1,750 to one client. (Admitted to practice: 1986) After accepting a client in an immigration case, Allen failed to timely file the petition, resulting in the petition being denied. Subsequently, Allen failed to notify the client that the petition had been denied for an extensive period of time. As a result of the denial, the client was unable to secure any type of permanent status in the United States and was unable to leave the country to attend to family and business matters.
• L. Lisa Batts, 55 S.E. Osceola St., suite 100, Stuart, suspended for 90 days, effective Oct. 8, following an Oct. 1 court order. Further, Batts shall be placed on probation for three years. (Admitted to practice: 1988) The Bar’s audit of Batts’ trust account revealed a shortage of approximately $10,000, mostly due to erroneous transfers by the bookkeeper. Batts failed to maintain the minimum required trust accounting records, failed to follow minimum required trust accounting procedures, and failed to supervise her bookkeeper’s handling of the trust account.
• Shawn Micheal Brannagan, 2120 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a Sept. 23 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1996) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Brannagan appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating trust funds. In a pattern of misconduct: Brannagan engaged in overdrafts of funds, misappropriated client funds for his own benefit, failed to perform the required monthly trust account reconciliations and comparisons, and failed to follow minimum trust accounting procedures.
• Chris Eugene Cadenhead, 420 E. Pine Ave., Crestview, disbarred effective immediately following an Oct. 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) Cadenhead pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bribery of a loan officer, conspiracy to commit mail and/or wire fraud and mail fraud — all federal felonies.
• Damon A. Chase, 1525 International Parkway, Suite 4021, Lake Mary, to be publicly reprimanded following an Oct. 1 court order. Further, Chase is directed to attend ethics school. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Chase represented several clients in a complex, real estate litigation case. Chase’s failure to adequately supervise his young associate led, in some instances, to motions and/or pleadings being filed wherein legally sound arguments were not being presented. Chase sent an email to a client that could be considered threatening, directed unprofessional language toward an opposing party and testified during a motion to withdraw hearing in a manner that may have been detrimental to his client. Chase also failed to adequately communicate with clients.
• Harvey M. Cohen, 8211 W. Broward Blvd., Suite 310, Plantation, to be publicly reprimanded following an Oct. 1 court order. Further, Cohen is directed to attend a professionalism workshop. (Admitted to practice: 1990) Cohen represented a client and in September 2011, the case was dismissed and a judgment was entered against the client. Cohen advised his client that she may want to consider transferring her ownership of an asset to a family member so it would not be subject to the judgment against her.
• Walter Ewing Foster III, 315 S. Palmetto Ave., Daytona Beach, disbarred effective immediately, following an Oct. 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) Foster misappropriated funds from his trust account and failed to maintain the required trust accounting records and procedures.
• Stephen A. Glass, 100 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 800, Miami, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following an Oct. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1980) In May 2012, Glass accepted money to represent a client in a dissolution of marriage case, despite the fact that he had been disbarred since April 1994.
• Kenneth Charles Glover, P.O. Box 3641, Lakeland, disbarred effective immediately, following an Oct. 1, 2013 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1977) Based on an audit, Glover commingled attorney and client funds in an effort to cover trust account shortages.
• Donald Joseph Grasso, 1314 Hooper Ave., Toms River, N.J., disbarred effective immediately, following an Oct. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) As an owner with 50 percent interest in a corporation doing business as a restaurant and bar, for three years Grasso filed false and fraudulent documents with the Internal Revenue Service and he failed to disclose cash receipts.
• Clint Johnson, 425 S. Hunt Club Blvd., Suite 2051, Apopka, disbarred effective immediately, following a Sept. 4 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Johnson held himself out as an attorney and practiced law while suspended. He failed to properly supervise a bookkeeper who misappropriated client funds. He also engaged in conduct involving gross neglect of his trust accounts through his failure to supervise the management of the trust accounts. Johnson was the subject of several out of state investigations for failing to obtain authorization in those states for debt management services.
• Alice Renee Francis Lee, 8904 Riverlachen Way, Riverview, to be publicly reprimanded following an Oct. 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1979) Lee knowingly failed to provide accurate information to a client.
• Keith Burgess Losey, 4396 Bowsprit Court, Apt. 1D, Fort Myers, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following an Oct. 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Losey was emergency suspended in January for misappropriation of client funds. During the Bar proceedings he failed to appear at scheduled case status conferences in April and May. He was charged and convicted of felony grand theft in Lee Count. Losey failed to notify the Bar of the felony charge. Losey also failed provide the Bar with trust records and other documents requested pursuant to subpoena.
• Stephen M. Martin, 200 Lake Morton Drive, Floor 2, Lakeland, to be publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter and further, placed on probation for two years, following an Oct. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1980) Martin’s trust account records were not in compliance, resulting in small shortages. A Bar auditor determined that many of the errors were caused by errors such as miscalculations, payments issued twice and the failure to account for a fee.
• Omar Medina Jr., 505 S. Magnolia Ave., Tampa, suspended for 30 days, effective Nov. 4, following a Sept. 30 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) Medina knowingly made a false statement of material fact to a third party in the course of representing a client seeking medical treatment.
• George M. Nachwalter, 13131 S.W. 132nd St., Suite 102, Miami. The Supreme Court granted Nachwalter’s request for a disciplinary revocation, effective 30 days from a Sept. 3 court order, without leave to seek readmission. (Admitted to practice: 1960) Disciplinary revocation is equivalent to disbarment. Nachwalter had complaints pending involving allegations of trust account irregularities.
• Lafe Rainier Purcell, 1403 W. Colonial Drive #A, Orlando, disbarred effective immediately, following a Sept. 3, court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Purcell misappropriated client funds and abandoned his law practice. Numerous payments from Purcell’s trust account were made for his personal benefit or that of his law firm. He also commingled trust funds with his law firm operating funds. Purcell failed to respond to a request from the Bar to produce his trust account records. A Bar investigator learned that Purcell broke his lease and moved out of his law office without giving notice,
• Julio R. Ferrer Roo, 8500 W. Flagler St., Suite 105A, Miami, disbarred effective immediately, following a Sept. 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1971) Roo was found in contempt for violating the terms of his April 2012 suspension order. Specifically, Roo was required to submit to The Florida Bar a sworn affidavit listing the persons/entities to which he gave notice of his suspension and provided a copy of his suspension order. Over the years, Roo exhibited a pattern of misconduct, ranging from dishonesty, lack of competence and diligence and failure to adequately communicate.
• John D. Sauls III, 45411 Fifth Ave., Callahan, to receive a public reprimand, pay restitution totaling $2,400 to three clients and be placed on probation for two years, following an Oct. 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2008) In three separate cases, Sauls failed to communicate with clients and he closed his office without notice and never filed the clients’ bankruptcy claims.
• Laura E. Spencer, 4161 Barbarossa Ave., Coconut Grove, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a Sept. 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1996) Spencer was found guilty in court of fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, a third degree felony.
• Loring Noel Spolter, 1301 E. Broward Blvd., Suite 330, Fort Lauderdale, suspended for one year, effective 30 days from a Sept. 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1990) In the course of representing a client in four separate cases before one judge, Spolter was charged with filing frivolous pleadings in bad faith and publicly impugning the dignity of the judge and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
• Richard Earl Trapp, 231 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, disbarred effective 30 days from an Oct. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1974) A Bar audit of Trapp’s trust account found that during the period Jan. 1, 2012, to Feb. 28, 2013, Trapp transferred clients’ third-party cost funds from his trust account to his operating account, then failed at times to pay those casts prior to paying his personal and business expenses. Trapp commingled funds and he failed to maintain compliant trust account records and follow proper accounting procedures.
• William Grandon Whitcomb, 2016 Bayside Parkway, Fort Myers, suspended for two years, effective retroactive to March 6, following an Oct. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1985) Whitcomb was initially charged with possession of child pornography with the intent to promote, a second degree felony. He pleaded guilty to an amended non-sex crime of unauthorized use of a computer network, a third degree felony. Adjudication was withheld and Whitcomb was sentenced to 36 months’ probation and payment of court costs.
• R. Scott Whitehead, 4507 Furling Lane, Suite 209, Destin, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following a Sept. 3 court order. Further, Whitehead shall pay restitution of more than $112,000. (Admitted to practice: 1998) The Florida Bar charged Whitehead in a 29-count complaint with engaging in criminal activity, fraud, misrepresentation, deceit, neglect of clients, failure to respond to The Florida Bar and numerous trust account violations.