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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jan. 3, 201712:00 PM EST

Two local attorneys disciplined by Florida Supreme Court

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The Florida Supreme Court disciplined 21 attorneys — disbarring four, revoking the licenses of three, suspending seven and publicly reprimanding seven.

Two are from Northeast Florida:

• Stephanie J. Hartley, 1361 Nicholson Road, Jacksonville, to receive a public reprimand. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Hartley pleaded guilty in North Carolina to driving while impaired. The case was appealed and dismissed based on an unlawful stop. However, she failed to report the initial conviction within 10 days as required by Rule 3-7.2(e).

• John Richard Geiger, P.O. Box 860217, St. Augustine, suspended until further order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Geiger was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a November 2015 suspension order. As a condition of his probation, he was required to retain the services of a certified public accountant to review his trust accounts monthly and submit a quarterly statement regarding compliance. Geiger was further ordered to submit a quarterly monitoring fee.

The other lawyers disciplined are:

• Frank Alfred Baker, Montgomery, Ala., disbarred. (Admitted to practice: 1976) Baker was found guilty of eight felony counts involving fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. He was sentenced to four years in federal prison and is required to pay restitution of about $4.5 million.

• Dennis Roland Bedard, Miami, suspended until further order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) Bedard was found in contempt for his willful failure to comply with The Florida Bar’s subpoenas.

• Jeffrey Joseph Budzik, Miami, to receive a disciplinary revocation, with leave to seek readmission after five years. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. A disciplinary matter pending against Budzik involves a guilty plea in federal court for felony bank fraud.

• James Lee Clark, Tampa, suspended until further order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Clark appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating at least $946,764 of client funds.

• Bruce Edward Committe, Cleveland, Ohio, disbarred. (Admitted to practice: 1989) Committe filed a frivolous and nonmeritorious lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, and pursued frivolous litigation in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Florida.

• James Edward Flynn Jr., St. Petersburg, to be publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter. (Admitted to practice: 2007) Further, Flynn shall complete a trust accounting workshop. Flynn shared fees with a non-lawyer employee and charged excessive fees. A Bar audit found deficiencies in Flynn’s trust account caused by his lack of experience.

• Daniel Gary Gass, Fort Lauderdale, disbarred. (Admitted to practice: 1994) In addition to membership in The Florida Bar, Gass also practiced before the Internal Revenue Service and as a certified public accountant licensed by the state of Florida. Gass was disbarred from practice before the IRS for engaging in disreputable conduct.

• Alrecia L. Gulley, New Port Richey, to be publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter. (Admitted to practice: 2012) Gulley worked for a California-based law firm that handled foreclosure surplus cases in Florida. In representing a client on a contingency fee basis, Gulley was not diligent in following up on information provided to her.

• Christopher R. Harris, Louisville, Ky., disbarred. (Admitted to practice: 2006) A compliance audit revealed Harris continually had shortages in his trust account, commingled earned fees with client money, and paid personal expenses from his trust account. The audit further revealed he did not maintain minimum trust accounting records and procedures. In at least two instances, despite promises, Harris refused to refund money to clients.

• Thomas Stephen Heidkamp, Cape Coral, suspended effective immediately. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Heidkamp was found in contempt for failure to respond to an official Bar inquiry regarding a case.

• Tonja J. Helton, Tampa. The Supreme Court granted Helton’s request for a disciplinary revocation. (Admitted to practice: 2009) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. A disciplinary matter pending against Helton includes allegations of misappropriation of client funds.

• Paul Marc Herman, Palm Beach Gardens, to receive a public reprimand by publication. (Admitted to practice: 1975) A review of the law firm’s banking records revealed Herman failed to adhere to trust account procedures. Several checks issued from his operating account were returned for insufficient funds and Herman used his trust account for personal reasons.

• Alan B. Koslow, Fort Lauderdale. The Supreme Court granted Koslow’s request for a disciplinary revocation, with leave to seek readmission after five years. (Admitted to practice: 1982) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. A disciplinary matter pending against Koslow includes allegations stemming from a May 26 arrest by federal authorities.

• Dale Eugene Krout Jr., Naples, suspended until further order. (Admitted to practice: 1981) Krout was found in contempt for failure to comply with a grievance committee subpoena to produce certain trust account records.

• Adam Paul Philpott, Orlando, suspended for 91 days. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Philpott was found in contempt for failing to comply with a November 2014 court order in which he was publicly reprimanded and placed on probation for three years. He signed a rehabilitation contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance and agreed to follow all recommendations during the probation period. Philpott failed to abstain from the consumption of alcohol, as required, and was arrested for DUI.

• Scott Thomas Rodgers, Orlando, to receive a public reprimand. (Admitted to practice: 2013) Rodgers was found in contempt for failing to respond to official Bar inquiries in a timely manner.

• Arthur Drew Rubin, Tampa, to receive a public reprimand. (Admitted to practice: 1991) A grievance committee found Rubin improperly solicited potential clients. As two pro se parties were leaving a courtroom, Rubin approached them, suggested they needed counsel and offered his services.

• Nadine Rhodes Smith, Clearwater, suspended for three years. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Further, she shall comply with a July 28 suspension order prior to petitioning for reinstatement. Specifically, Smith was required to notify her clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of her two-year suspension and provide the Bar within 30 days a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of people and entities that were furnished a copy of her suspension order.

• Scott Alan Weires, Boca Raton, to receive a public reprimand. (Admitted to practice: 1997) In communicating a fee reduction matter between his law firm and the father of a former client, Weires knowingly engaged in conduct involving misrepresentation.

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