California Bar Journal
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Beverly Hills attorney disbarred following real estate fraud
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A well-known Beverly Hills attorney who once headed the tax division of the U.S. Attorney’s Los Angeles office was dis-barred April 21 for real estate fraud and other misconduct. Both the State Bar Court and its review department found that ROBERT H. WYSHAK [#20132], 76, “committed a wide variety of serious ethical violations in . . . four matters, none of which is excused by the evidence he has offered.”

The court said that despite Wyshak’s 40 years of unblemished practice, it had no choice given “the grave seriousness of [his] misconduct coupled with his lack of meaningful regret, understanding, insight or acceptance of any responsibility for the consequences of his misconduct.”

In addition to defrauding two sellers of valuable real estate, the bar court found that Wyshak advanced unfounded charges of sexual harassment in order to defeat an unlawful detainer action, and he disobeyed a federal court order to produce documents in a civil case.

A graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, Wyshak and his former wife enjoyed a successful tax practice for more than 25 years. After divorcing, Wyshak operated as a sole practitioner, but with far less success.

The real estate cases resulted from his association with George Eggleston, a businessman who had served six years in prison for tax evasion.

Eggleston made a “creative” bid to buy a Palm Desert condominium, putting together a deal which provided for a purchase price of $220,000 to be paid over several years from the earnings of a “cash grant” which was to be placed in escrow and in trust. Wyshak served as the trustee.

He represented that the cash had been received, but it never was, according to the court. The seller received $25,000 when escrow closed, but never received any more funds from the sale of the condominium.

When confronted by the seller at one point, Wyshak said he had been duped by others who were responsible for funding the trust. He solicited a $10,000 retainer fee from the seller to represent her against those allegedly at fault.

In the second real estate trans-action, one of Eggleston’s trusts offered to buy another Palm Desert condo for about $240,000. Again, a “cash grant” of $300,000 was to be deposited in escrow, with Wyshak serving as trustee.

Wyshak advised the seller’s lawyer that he held the cash grant, but the attorney was unable to get any information about what assets were in trust. In addition, the other lawyer found a legal problem with the trust Wyshak created: a law office was not a qualified trustee under the Probate Code. After vigorous and lengthy opposition by Wyshak, he was removed as trustee.

The sellers never received any funds.

In both matters, the bar court found that Wyshak committed moral turpitude by falsely representing that he had received the purchase price of both properties as cash and held it in trust.

Eggleston and Wyshak joined forces in another real estate transaction, arranging a complex lease-financing arrangement with a couple who owned homes in Pasadena and Monrovia. Wyshak asked the couple, who were leaving for a trip abroad, to give a limited power of attorney to one of Eggleston’s relatives, whom he promised was “honest as the day was long.”

Eggleston and others then used that power of attorney to obtain loans for both properties at high rates of interest, with very short repayment periods.

When the couple returned, they found another Eggleston relative living in the Monrovia home and asked Wyshak to revoke the deal. He failed to do so. Both properties, which the couple considered their retirement security, ended up in foreclosure.

When the couple sued Eggleston and Wyshak, Eggleston contrived a sham sexual harassment claim against the homeowner by the woman living in the Monrovia home. Wyshak drafted and filed the claim in court, although the woman later recanted. Wyshak also communicated with the homeowner, who was represented by counsel.

Wyshak was ordered to pay sanctions of $80,000 by a Pasadena judge, but failed to report the sanctions to the State Bar.

The bar court found that Wyshak committed five acts of misconduct by making untrue allegations against the homeowner, advancing untrue facts prejudicial to the homeowner, and encouraging an action for a corrupt motive. It also found he represented parties adverse to each other without their consent, and added an additional finding that the spurious charges of sexual harassment caused great anguish to the homeowners.

In another matter, Wyshak did not comply with a federal district court’s discovery order.

Wyshak appealed to the bar court’s review department, arguing that he had no dealings with the victims until after the transactions were completed, that he had no attorney-client relationship with the victims and that Eggleston was responsible for the victims’ losses. The review department rejected his claims.

Wyshak has indicated he will take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.