A well-known Beverly Hills attorney who once headed
the tax division of the U.S. Attorneys 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 Wyshaks 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 Egglestons
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 sellers 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 Egglestons 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
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
courts discovery order.
Wyshak appealed to the bar courts 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.