California Bar Journal
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA - MAY 2000
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DISCIPLINE

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CAUTION!

More than 169,370 attorneys are eligible to practice law in California. Many attorneys share the same names.

All discipline reports should be read carefully for names, ages, addresses and bar numbers. Attorneys must report address changes within 30 days.

All discipline summaries are taken from the State Bar Court decisions.

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DISBARMENTS

PAUL MICHAEL GRAY [#140320], 52, of Hemet was disbarred Dec. 12, 1999, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Gray failed to comply with a rule 955 requirement in a 1998 disciplinary order. He did not submit an affidavit to the Supreme Court attesting that he had notified all clients, opposing parties and pertinent courts of his suspension. Failure to comply with rule 955 is grounds for disbarment.

The 1998 discipline was the result of Gray’s failure to advise in writing his elderly and incapacitated client of her right to seek independent counsel before loaning Gray money. He then obtained the  loan without getting the client’s written consent to its terms and continued to see the client despite a restraining order and later an injunction to avoid contact with her.

Gray abandoned another client who had hired him to evict a tenant.

MARTIN WOLFF [#73211], 52, of Koror, PW, was disbarred Dec. 19, 1999, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

Wolff failed to comply with a rule 955 requirement in a 1998 disciplinary order by not submitting the necessary affidavit to the Supreme Court.

The discipline came in a default proceeding brought because of misconduct in Hawaii, where Wolff wrongfully accused opposing counsel in a civil case of fabricating evidence.

The court also found that between 1989 and 1996, he made 14 separate and meritless accusations alleging dishonesty, false statement, fraud and subornation of perjury against 10 attorneys. He communicated with a represented party, made a false statement to a court and forced two female domestic employees to walk naked through the streets.

An attorney can be disciplined in California for misconduct in another state if those actions would have led to discipline here had they occurred in this state.

MICHAEL CLARK MANNIX [#80365], 53, of Boulder, Colo., was disbarred Dec. 31, 1999.

Mannix was disbarred in Colorado in 1997 for misconduct in five matters.

The State Bar Court determined that his misconduct in Colorado warrants the imposition of discipline in California.

Mannix’s actions included failure to perform (four counts), keep clients reasonably informed (three counts), return unearned fees (three counts) and cooperate with a bar investigation (five counts), improperly withdrawing from representation three times, commingling client and personal funds, three instances of dishonesty, charging an excessive fee, and unauthorized practice of law.

The Colorado Supreme Court found that in mitigation, Mannix appeared to have genuine remorse for his misconduct.

However, he was twice disciplined in 1994 and failed to participate in the disbarment proceedings.

FRANKLIN K.P. MOORE [#134411], 38, of Puerto Vallarta was disbarred Dec. 31, 1999, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

Moore failed to comply with a rule 955 requirement in a 1998 disciplinary order by not submitting the required affidavit to the Supreme Court.

He had failed to perform legal services competently or refund unearned fees, and his misconduct constituted moral turpitude.

SUSPENSIONS/PROBATION

FRANCIS J. BLOOMINGDALE [#52935], 63, of La Mesa was suspended for two years and until he proves his rehabilitation and makes restitution to a client in the amount of $89,250.33. The order took effect Oct. 15, 1999.

Initially disciplined in 1994 for misappropriating funds from his brother-in-law/client, Bloomingdale’s probation in that case was revoked in 1996 when he failed to comply with probation requirements.

The 1996 order included attendance at ethics school as a condition of probation. His failure to do so resulted in the new discipline. Bloomingdale also was privately reproved in 1988.

BITA LOGHMAN HOFFMAN [#159205], 34, of San Diego was suspended for 90 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation with a 30-day actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Oct. 15, 1999.

Hoffman modified a court order without the consent or knowledge of that court. Since the change was minor (involving the location of retirement funds) and no one benefitted from the change, the bar court did not find that Hoffman’s conduct entailed moral turpitude.

In a second matter, Hoffman signed her client’s name to two declarations which she then submitted to a court. She said she did so for the convenience of both her client and herself. The bar court found she misled the court and committed an act of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Hoffman presented four witnesses at trial to attest to her good character. She has no record of prior discipline, volunteers with a non-profit corporation and has done pro bono work at a battered women’s shelter.

MONDAY U. ABENGOWE [#143986], 41, of West Los Angeles was suspended for four years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with an actual two-year suspension and until he proves his rehabilitation, and was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Oct. 15, 1999.

Abengowe stipulated to misconduct in eight consolidated cases.

Much of the misconduct involved the use of his client trust accounts. He wrote more than 60 checks against insufficient funds, wrote checks for personal expenses against his trust accounts,  misappropriated client funds and committed acts of moral turpitude. Abengowe also paid commissions to his employees and others for referring or settling cases. The amount of the commissions depended upon the amount of the settlement. He stipulated that he engaged in fee-splitting with non-attorneys.

He also stipulated to two counts of failure to perform legal services competently or to communicate with clients, and one count of improperly withdrawing from representation without protecting his client’s interests.

He did not cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

VICTOR H. TOSCANO [#80753], 54, of Glendale was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a requirement that he make restitution, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Oct. 15, 1999.

Toscano violated the terms of a 1997 private reproval by failing to make restitution in the amount of $940.

MICHAEL CHARLES MOUSTAKAS [#55953], 59, of Northridge was suspended for 60 days, stayed, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Oct. 15, 1999. In a separate order, effective Nov. 4, 1999, he was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual two-year suspension, and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955.

In the first case, a default proceeding, Moustakas held himself out as entitled to practice law while he was suspended for 60 days in 1997. He kept a greeting on his answering machine indicating he was a lawyer in good standing, when in fact he was ineligible to practice as a result of failing to pay funds to clients, maintain records of client funds, respond to reasonable status inquiries, pay medical providers, and cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

The second discipline case also was a default proceeding in two consolidated matters. The State Bar Court found that Moustakas violated probation conditions in two separate disciplinary cases.

In one matter, he did not file a quarterly probation report, a certificate from a certified public accountant, proof of enrollment in a law practice management class, or an office management plan, and he failed to make restitution.

In that matter, Moustakas had stipulated that he failed to promptly pay funds to two separate clients, maintain records of funds he received on behalf of those clients, respond to status inquiries, promptly pay funds to a medical provider, obtain written consent to his joint representation of two clients, or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

In the second matter, he failed to make restitution by the required deadline, as ordered in a private reproval.

Because the restitution involved only $20, the case was dismissed by a hearing judge, but the bar court’s review department ruled that the judge had erred and remanded the case back to him.

Moustakas repaid the $20 plus interest, but he did not do so by the required deadline.

He has a record of discipline which also includes a 1998 suspension for failing to comply with a condition of a 1995 private reproval and with several conditions of the 1997 discipline.

MARVIN H. MITCHELSON [#27801], 72, of Los Angeles was suspended for four years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with an actual four-year suspension and until he proves his rehabilitation. Mitchel-son has appealed the actual suspension; a hearing was scheduled for April 25. The judge will then have 10 days to rule. The order took effect Oct. 17, 1999.

In 1993, Mitchelson was convicted of four counts of filing false income tax returns and was ordered to pay the IRS $2.2 million. Subsequently, the State Bar placed him on interim suspension May 3, 1993.

While on interim suspension, Mitchel-son mistakenly assumed that his client trust account could be changed to a personal account and requested the bank to make the change. The bank did not comply, but Mitchelson believed the account had been changed and he used it for personal purposes.

While suspended, he also provided legal advice to a woman about an assault case and received $500 for his services. He stipulated that he exceeded the scope of his paralegal duties.

Mitchelson also stipulated to misconduct in a 1986 case in which he failed to communicate with a client or return her files after he won a judgment for her of more than $443,000. She had sought the return of her files in order to enforce the judgment she had obtained.

Mitchelson has a record of discipline which includes a 1993 suspension for failure to adequately supervise an associate and improper conduct in the use of a client trust account, a 1994 suspension for failure to take the professional responsibility exam, a 1995 probation revocation, and a 1996 discipline for failure to provide accountings or return unearned fees in 14 client matters.

In mitigation, Mitchelson has practiced for more than 35 years, handling noteworthy cases in the family and criminal law arenas. He also has written widely and is often a guest speaker.

JOHN G. MONKMAN JR. (aka GRANNIS MONKMAN), [#51174], 54, of Pasadena was suspended for 60 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation with a requirement that he make restitution, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Oct. 15, 1999.

Monkman stipulated to misconduct in five consolidated matters.

He and his client were sanctioned more than $5,000 ($700 for failure to attend a deposition related to discovery) in a marital dissolution. He neither paid the sanctions nor reported them to the State Bar, as required.

Monkman also was sanctioned twice in another dissolution matter, and did not pay those sanctions either.

In a third matter, he threatened to file a complaint against his clients’ dentist in order to gain advantage in a civil dispute.

In mitigation, Monkman has no record of discipline in almost 30 years of practice.

JOHN EDWARD TERRY [#78404], 53, of Amarillo, Texas, was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Oct. 15, 1999.

Terry was publicly reproved in 1997 for failure to act competently and return client papers promptly when requested.

As part of the reproval, he was required to take and pass the professional responsibility exam within a year. His failure to do so resulted in this discipline.

HILARY T. SCANTLEBURY [#67421], 56, of Barrington, Ill., was suspended for three years and until he attends ethics school, proves his rehabilitation and takes the MPRE. The order took effect Oct. 22, 1999.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Scantlebury should be disciplined in California for misconduct he committed in Illinois. The Illinois Supreme Court suspended Scantlebury from practice for three years in 1998.

It found that he converted at least $96,000 of client funds, lied to clients, forged a notary’s signature to a release of claims and forged a client’s signature to settlement drafts.

In his Illinois practice, Scantlebury misappropriated entrusted funds in six matters, failed to deposit client funds in a trust account five times, failed twice to promptly pay clients funds to which they were entitled, did not communicate with clients, misrepresented the status of client matters, issued checks against insufficient funds and commingled personal and client funds.

Four of his actions constituted moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Scantlebury suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder, an addiction to alcohol and depression which may have caused the misconduct. He now is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and takes prozac for his depression.

An attorney who is disciplined for misconduct in another state is subject to discipline in California if the misconduct would have led to disciplinary action had it been committed in California.

Scantlebury has not practiced in California since 1978, when he was suspended for failing to pay bar dues.

KENNETH NEIL BRODY [#160292], 34, of Sacramento was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 4, 1999.

Brody stipulated that he failed to perform competent legal services by using his status as an attorney to sign official forms without adequately supervising the processing of those forms.

Brody’s brother was a principal of a southern California company that represented clients seeking a reduction in the assessed value of their real estate. Appeals forms must be signed either by the property owner or by an attorney acting as the property owner’s agent.

Each year, new forms are issued only a few weeks before the appeal deadline, so Brody’s brother asked him to sign the forms in order to avoid obtaining the signatures of hundreds of clients.

During the summer of 1994, Brody signed hundreds of appeal forms, but he did no work for the clients other than comparing the information on the forms with the data from the company. He was paid $500.

Brody signed more forms the following summer, for another $500.

He did not contract with any property owners to have an attorney/client relationship, never met with or spoke to any of the property owners, did not review any supporting materials to assure that the clients actually sought a reduction in their assessments, did not appear at any hearings and assumed no other responsibilities for the appeals.

Employees of the company also signed Brody’s signature without his knowledge. One unauthorized appeal, resulting in an increased tax assessment, was submitted with Brody’s purported signature. He did not sign that appeal.

In mitigation, Brody has no record of discipline and cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

DENNIS REID HOPTOWIT [#61544], 53, of Chico was suspended for 90 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 4, 1999.

In 1997, Hoptowit pleaded no contest to driving under the influence with a prior conviction, after he was arrested with a blood alcohol level of .18. His conduct did not constitute moral turpitude but did warrant discipline.

In a second case, Hoptowit represented a client who pleaded no contest to drunken driving and was ordered to pay a $1,240 fine. The client was to give partial payments to Hoptowit, who was to forward the money to the court. Hoptowit did not deposit two checks from the client in his client trust account, and he commingled personal and client funds in the account.

When he did not return his client’s phone calls, the client sent payment of his fine directly to the court. On the deadline for final payment, Hoptowit determined the client still owed $195, so Hoptowit paid the balance in cash.

Hoptowit stipulated that he commingled funds, failed to deposit client funds in the trust account, and failed to communicate with a client.

In mitigation, he has no prior record of discipline and he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

HENRY J. KOEHLER IV [#52539], 65, of Beverly Hills was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 4, 1999.

A State Bar Court hearing judge found that Koehler improperly withdrew from representation of a client in a family law matter, exonerated him of charges of practicing law while suspended, and recommended a two-year stayed suspension, a 30-day actual suspension and two years of probation.

The bar sought review, urging a one-year suspension and a finding that Koehler improperly practiced law.

The review department upheld the hearing judge’s findings, although it increased the actual suspension to 60 days.

According to the record, Koehler was retained by a client to represent him in a divorce action with a custody dispute. The client agreed to pay $10,000 and attorney’s fees of $250 an hour. When the court ruled against the client, Koehler and the client discussed their options: “run out the clock” by using up the remaining $2,200 in the advance fee, or petition the court of appeal, a task which would take an estimated 20 to 25 hours over a weekend.

The client agreed to the petition, stating he had $30,000 in a pension fund, presumably to pay his legal fees.

The following day, one of Koehler’s assistants called the client and instructed him to come to the office with lunch. When he arrived, he met with two assistants, who told him he must either pay an additional $5,000 or agree to substitute Koehler out of the case. The custody issue was scheduled for six days later, the client did not have the money and he reluctantly signed a substitution relieving Koehler.

His former attorney was unable to represent him at the hearing, which had been planned for one year, so the client represented himself. The client and his spouse ultimately reached a stipulated settlement of the custody issue.

Although Koehler wrote to the client’s former lawyer, provided a status report and suggested he would help with the appeal, the record showed no evidence the petition ever was filed.

The bar court hearing judge found that Koehler abandoned his client without protecting his interests.

Koehler has been disciplined twice previously. In 1976, he was privately reproved for failing to timely perform legal services in four matters, and in 1992, he was suspended for six months for failure to perform legal services in a time-sensitive matter and for improper handling of trust accounts.

In mitigation, several clients attested to Koehler’s good character, and he has performed not-for-profit work for fathers’ rights organizations.

SHELLY MARIE MATIS [#95507], 45, of Rancho Cucamonga was suspended for 90 days and until she makes restitution and proves her rehabilitation, and was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 4, 1999.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Matis committed misconduct in two matters.

In the first, she represented a collection agency, filing several lawsuits and providing status reports about various collection matters. She was to receive a 15 percent contingent fee from all monies collected.

At a certain point, Matis did not pay the agency the money it was due ($85) from checks she received from a debtor, she stopped performing any work, and did not answer letters or provide information about any of the matters she was handling.

When the agency hired new counsel, Matis did not respond to their letters or return files. In addition, the balance of her client trust account fell below zero and the account was closed.

The bar court found that Matis withdrew from employment without taking steps to avoid prejudice to a client, failed to respond to status requests, return the client’s papers and property, or cooperate with the bar’s investigation, and misappropriated funds held in trust.

In a second matter, she was hired by another attorney to handle 14 collection matters. A month later, the attorney terminated Matis’ services and repeatedly requested the return of her files. Matis finally returned the files 20 months later.

In mitigation, Matis has no record of prior discipline.

STANLEY NICHOLS [#44310], 68, of San Bernardino was suspended for two years, stayed, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 4, 1999.

Nichols stipulated to misconduct in three consolidated cases.

In the first matter, he was hired to contest a 30-day notice to quit, but did not act within the 30 days. When the client was served with an unlawful detainer action, Nichols again did not act quickly despite numerous telephone calls, a default was entered and the client was evicted.

When the client went to Nichols’ office to obtain his file, the client agreed to allow Nichols to continue to represent him with the understanding he would file a breach of contract action on the cli-ent’s behalf. Nichols failed to do so and did not respond to the client’s request that he return his papers and refund his fees.

In the second case, Nichols substituted into a case but never filed the substitution form, took any action on his client’s behalf or responded to the client’s inquiries about the case.

In another matter, Nichols was hired to initiate foreclosure proceedings and file suit to obtain money owed to his client. Nine months later, the client hired another company which foreclosed on the property in question. He asked Nichols to provide an accounting and return any unearned fees, but Nichols never did so.

Nichols stipulated that he twice failed to perform legal services competently, respond to client inquiries, or provide an accounting, and that he did not return one client’s files.

The probation of ROBERT OTHNIEL WALSH [#60153], 61, of Porterville was revoked and the previous stay of suspension was lifted, and he was ordered suspended for six months with credit from a previous 45-day actual suspension and from a period of involuntary inactive enrollment which began July 7, 1999. He also was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 4, 1999.

Walsh failed to comply with the conditions of a 1997 probation, including attending ethics school, filing quarterly probation reports and completing six hours of CLE courses.

The ‘97 order also resulted from a failure to comply with conditions attached to an agreement he had reached with the bar in lieu of actual discipline.

The original misconduct involved his failure to perform legal services competently or communicate with a client.

The probation of BARBARA A. COOPER [#70489], 59, of Hesperia was revoked, the previous stay of suspension was lifted, and she was suspended for six months and ordered to comply with rule 955. Credit toward the suspension was given for a period of involuntary inactive enrollment which began Aug. 14, 1999. The order took effect Nov. 14, 1999.

In August 1997, Cooper reached a stipulation with the State Bar in four consolidated cases which required her to comply with numerous probation conditions. She failed to submit a law office management plan, file three quarterly probation reports, submit proof of her attendance at ethics school and various MCLE courses, join the law practice management section, take the MPRE, or verify that she sought treatment from a mental health professional.

The original discipline involved misconduct in four client matters, including failure to perform legal services competently in two matters, failure to return three client files, failure to communicate with one client or respond to client inquiries, and improperly withdrawing from a case. She also did not cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

There was no mitigation.

DANIELLE FARRENS WONG [#140944], 52, of Stockton was suspended for three years, stayed, and placed on three years of probation with an actual one-year suspension and until she proves her fitness to practice law and her rehabilitation from alcohol/drug addiction. She also was ordered to pass the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 17, 1999.

Wong stipulated to misconduct in four cases, each stemming from Wong’s use of alcohol.

In November 1997, she pleaded no contest to driving under the influence in El Dorado County. She had argued with a tow truck driver who advised her not to drive after he pulled her out of a ditch. She drove away and was arrested with one unopened and two open bottles of wine in her car.

Later that month, she pleaded no contest in San Joaquin County to driving a vehicle while having a blood alcohol count of more than .08 percent (her blood alcohol count was .25).

The same day, she pleaded guilty to one count of battery. Wong was arrested in July for throwing a can of oven cleaner and a glass coffee pot at her daughter and housekeeper. She had returned home two days earlier, after serving a 72-hour confinement at San Joaquin County Mental Health, and had been intoxicated since. Wong argued with her daughter when the 17-year-old refused to give her mother her car keys.

About a month later, Wong pleaded no contest to one count of driving with a suspended or revoked license.

She has a prior record of discipline, following a 1993 conviction for obtaining a controlled substance (Demerol) by fraud. She also failed to meet the probation conditions attached to the Placerville DUI, and a bench warrant was issued.

In mitigation, she cooperated with the bar’s investigation of her conduct.

ANDRE KEITH SILVOLA [#109154], 51, of Colorado Springs was placed on two years of probation and suspended for one year and until he proves his rehabilitation. The order took effect Nov. 17, 1999.

Silvola was disciplined in 1998 and was ordered at the time to comply with rule 955. He stipulated that he did not comply because he filed the required affidavit a month late.

In mitigation, Silvola was suffering from Major Depressive Disorder at the time. He had no clients, no pending litigation and no client files or unearned fees in his possession.

JAMES HERRICK COFFER [#111466], 51, of Concord was suspended for 90 days, placed on six months of probation, and was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 25, 1999.

Coffer stipulated to three counts of misconduct. He practiced law while suspended for non-payment of bar dues in the first matter.

He failed to properly supervise his employees in two bankruptcy cases. In the first, Coffer’s client was ordered to pay a bank $5,000 by close of business on July 21, 1995. Although the client had the funds ready, Coffer’s employees said the client could send the money overnight and they would notify the bank.

The employees failed to do so, the bank refused payment and scheduled a sale of the client’s home. A third bankruptcy filed by Coffer on the client’s behalf was dismissed.

In the second matter, a client’s bankruptcy case was dismissed because of delayed compliance with a payment plan. As a result, one of the creditors scheduled a trustee’s sale of the client’s property. Coffer filed an application to re-open the case instead of a motion to vacate. The motion to vacate was filed after the trustee’s sale.

In mitigation, Coffer performed additional legal services for those clients free of charge and he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

JAMES LAWRENCE WELLMAN [#116357], 40, of Woodland Hills was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 25, 1999.

Wellman failed to comply with the conditions of a 1998 private reproval. He did not file five quarterly probation reports or proof of completion of nine hours of MCLE courses.

He said he believed he did not have to comply because the State Bar’s disciplinary activities were curtailed during its funding crisis.

JOHNNY ELEUTARIO MOSQUEDA [#162225], 52, of Chino Hills was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Dec. 1, 1999.

Mosqueda pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of violating the insurance code after he was arrested in a 1997 sting operation in Orange County.

The undercover operation targeted law offices paying non-attorneys for referrals of personal injury cases and splitting fees with non-attorneys.

Although Mosqueda rejected an offer made by an investigator, telling him it was illegal, he nonetheless agreed to a 60/40 split of the attorney’s fee, with 60 percent going to the phony consulting firm which was to refer personal injury cases.

Mosqueda received a fabricated police report, retainer agreement and other information before agreeing to take on the case. He then received fabricated medical reports and statements from the consulting firm.

He sent a demand letter to an insurance carrier and later negotiated a settlement, giving a percentage to the consulting firm.

In mitigation, Mosqueda cooperated with the bar’s investigation and demonstrated his remorse.

SARAJANE CROSBY [#65552], 57, of Mill Valley was suspended for one year, stayed, and ordered to take the MPRE within a year. The order took effect Dec. 1, 1999.

In 1996, Crosby entered into an agreement in lieu of discipline (ALD) following two convictions for driving with a suspended license. She stipulated that she failed to comply with the ALD conditions, including submitting quarterly reports, participating in a substance abuse program and attending ethics school.

In mitigation, Crosby was admitted to three medical facilities for treatment of alcoholism over 19 months during the time in question. She had no prior discipline record.

MELANIE LORRAINE JONES [#153698], 39, of Oakland was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual six-month suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Dec. 8, 1999.

Jones stipulated that in 1995, she wrote 16 checks for insufficient funds in her client trust account. In addition, she commingled personal and client funds in the account and wrote 51 checks for personal expenses.

Jones also misappropriated funds from two clients.

In mitigation, Jones has no record of prior discipline.

THOMAS A. LACEY [#31359], 67, of Modesto was suspended for four years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with an actual one-year suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Dec. 10, 1999.

Lacey’s resignation from the bar is pending.

The State Bar Court found that Lacey committed acts of misconduct in two matters.

The first involved a divorce in which Lacey represented the husband. Although he deposited more than $275,000 in proceeds from the sale of real estate in his client trust account, Lacey later transferred the funds to a joint tenancy account in his and his client’s names. He used his client’s Social Security number to establish the account.

For two years, before the divorce was final, Lacey paid his client $1,400 monthly in interest payments from the account. He did not inform the court or opposing counsel about the account or the payments.

His actions violated a court order and constituted moral turpitude, and he breached his fiduciary duty to his client’s wife.

In another case, Lacey concocted a scheme involving real property owned by a couple who were under financial pressure and wanted to sell it. They entered into an agreement with Grajeda and Associates, a business which bought and sold property in which the owner had little or no equity.

The couple gave Grajeda a grant deed and $800 for closing costs, but he did not immediately record the deed.

Another couple who was interested in buying the house was informed by a realtor that Grajeda was under investigation for fraudulent practices. The realtor put both couples in touch with Lacey, who is a real estate broker as well as an attorney.

Despite a potential conflict of interest, Lacey represented both couples in a scheme to defeat Grajeda of his interest in the property without any further payment.

The buyers paid the first couple $6,000, held in Lacey’s trust account, which he used to make payments for various costs and expenses, including attorney’s fees.

Lacey filed a notice of default which contained misrepresentations, fabricated backdated documents, and improperly attempted to shield his clients from potential civil liability.

The scheme resulted in several legal proceedings, including two unlawful detainer actions, and actions for injunctive relief, malicious prosecution and cancellation of deed, two appeals and non-judicial foreclosure proceedings.

The bar court found that Lacey represented adverse parties without obtaining their informed written consent and he committed acts of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, he practiced for 31 years without discipline, is involved in civic and legal activities, and has a record of pro bono and community service.

KATHRYN RAFFEE BUFFINGTON [#82565], 48, of Long Beach was suspended for one year, stayed, and was placed on one year of probation with a 30-day actual suspension. The order took effect Dec. 19, 1999.

Buffington was convicted in 1998 of driving under the influence, failure to provide identification information at an accident with property damage and child endangerment.

She had left the scene of an accident in which she struck a fire hydrant; her 11-year-old daughter was a passenger in her car.

Buffington had a previous DUI conviction in 1996.

She stipulated that her misconduct warranted discipline and constituted moral turpitude.

In mitigation, she has no prior record of discipline and cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

DUANE D’ROY DADE [#140379], 42, of Upland was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE. The order took effect Dec. 19, 1999.

Dade stipulated to two instances of failing to properly maintain his client trust account. He wrote one check against insufficient funds and he allowed the balance to fall below the required amount.

Dade presented extensive mitigation: he had no prior record of discipline, cooperated with the investigation, hired a bookkeeper and accountant to prevent further problems, and he provided evidence of his good character. In addition, at the time of the misconduct, Dade was supporting his parents and grandmother financially.

FRANKLIN FEIGENBAUM [#134403], 37, of Northridge was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on one year of probation with a 90-day actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within a year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Dec. 19, 1999.

Feigenbaum was hired as an independent contract attorney to represent a corporate client. Although he filed the client’s answer to a complaint and filed a statement of claim in the arbitration phase of the case, he did no further work.

He did not communicate with the client or notify the client about a hearing, missed a conference call dealing with the arbitration, and did not respond to requests for a status report.

When the State Bar tried to investigate, an inquiry letter was returned as undeliverable.

Feigenbaum then changed his address and went inactive at the same time, but he did not cooperate with the investigation.

In a default proceeding, the bar court found that he withdrew from employment without protecting his client’s interests and failed to keep his client informed about developments in its case.

INTERIM SUSPENSION

CHARLES T. HINDLEY [#55738], 75, of San Bernardino was placed on interim suspension Oct. 27, 1999, following a conviction for one count of receiving stolen property. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

STEVEN R. JONES [#46843], 57, of San Diego was placed on interim suspension Nov. 7, 1999, after he was convicted of aiding and abetting illegal monetary transactions. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

BRUCE ALLAN MANDEL [#149539], 37, of Redondo Beach was placed on interim suspension Nov. 12, 1999, following a conviction of attempted unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

FLOYD J. MORRIS [#141167], 45, of Merced was placed on interim suspension Nov. 12, 1999, following a conviction for one count of grand theft. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

JOHN EDWIN NEWMAN [#93191], 49, of Apple Valley was placed on interim suspension Nov. 18, 1999, following his conviction for six  felonies: two counts of murder, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, one count of causing injury while driving under the influence and one count of causing injury with a blood alcohol level above .08. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

JANICE G. COLOMBO, a.k.a. JANICE G. MINER [#118864], 43, of Selma was placed on interim suspension Nov. 19, 1999, following her conviction of one count of burglary. She was ordered to comply with rule 955.

HENRY DAVID CRUZ [#129047], 42, of Saratoga was placed on interim suspension Nov. 22, 1999, following his conviction for fraudulently writing a bad check, a felony. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

MARTIN S. ROSMAN [#140374], 38, of Taft was placed on interim suspension Nov. 22, 1999, following his conviction for money laundering. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

JEFFREY MICHAEL BROWN [#137983], 37, of Encinitas was placed on interim suspension Dec. 8, 1999, following his conviction for passing a worthless check. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

DANIEL JOHN KLIER [#168679], 39, of Encino was placed on interim suspension Dec. 8, 1999, following his conviction for intentional deceit or collusion by an attorney. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

MICHAEL ARNOLD LEVIN [#41448], 58, of Burbank was placed on interim suspension Dec. 22, 1999, following his conviction on two counts of making terrorist threats. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

RESIGNATIONS/CHARGES PENDING

JOSEPH A. BILLINGSLEY [#85405], 48, of Oakland (Oct. 15, 1999)

DAVID E. BROWN [#85788], 62, of Sacramento (Oct. 15, 1999)

OLIVIA T. IBARRA [#71307], 48, of Long Beach (Oct. 15, 1999)

TODD W. JACOBSEN [#153798], 35, of Brea (Oct. 15, 1999)

GEORGE H. McNEAL [#42987], 59, of Los Angeles (Oct. 15, 1999)

GREGORY A. MACCARONE [#114229], 45, of Sherman Oaks (Oct. 15, 1999)

RICHARD SAAVEDRA [#54473], 58, of Huntington Beach (Oct. 15, 1999)

KENNETH P. SAMMUT [#175669], 31, of Sacramento (Oct. 15, 1999)

BRIAN D. STROMSOE [#60075], 59, of Laverne (Oct. 15, 1999)

NICOLAS S. PALUMBO [#172276], 50, of San Jose (Oct. 22, 1999)

DANIEL ANTHONY BORZONI [#94786], 54, of Gardena (Nov. 4, 1999)

RONALD CARL BROWN [#92531], 44, of Woodland Hills (Nov. 4, 1999)

GERMAIN LABAT JR. [#105902], 54, of Whittier (Nov. 4, 1999)

PATRICIA E. SHIELDS [#173175], 47, of Clipper Mills (Nov. 4, 1999)

ROBERT HUNTER WILSON [#75216], 51, of Los Altos (Nov. 4, 1999)

THOMAS McREYNOLDS JONES [#38003], 58, of Irvine (Nov. 6, 1999)

STEVEN EDMUND REEVE [#67246], 60, of Colton (Nov. 6, 1999)

CAROLYN ANN HARRINGTON [#83566], 54, of Sacramento (Nov. 17, 1999)

DOUGLAS ALLEN LONG [#55856], 55, of Gig Harbor, Wash. (Nov. 17, 1999)

RANDALL L. MARR [#153256], 44, of Soquel (Nov. 17, 1999)

GARY L. MUNSON [#139480], 56, of Los Angeles (Nov. 17, 1999)

STEPHEN C. STEWART [#38706], 66, of West Orange (Nov. 24, 1999)

DEAN RUSSELL HYATT [#53797], 55, of Ontario (Dec. 1, 1999)

TERRY L. KELLY [#140466], 42, of Las Vegas (Dec. 1, 1999)

ALYSA BETH ROSEN [#146010], 37, of Woodland Hills (Dec. 1, 1999)

STEVEN LEE BEDIENT [#70114], 53, of El Dorado (Dec. 12, 1999)

SUSPENSION/FAILURE TO PASS PRE

MICHAEL VINCENT JOHNSON [#100957], 50, of Victorville (Aug. 31, 1999)

WILLIAM W. WOO [#98489], 51, of Santa Ana (Oct. 15, 1999)

TERRENCE L. MEYER [#129447], 54, of Fair Oaks (Nov. 1, 1999)

SIDNEY H. ARDEN [#26926], 77, of La Quinta (Nov. 2, 1999)

KIM CALDER HAYES [#133757], 49, of Berkeley (Nov. 2, 1999)

MARK R. POVRAZNIK [#153629], 39, of Sherman Oaks (Nov. 2, 1999)

JERRY MARTIN COHEN [#44450], 62, of San Diego (Dec. 13, 1999)

PUBLIC REPROVAL

CARLOS CASTANEDA [#140786], 43, of San Diego (Aug. 14, 1999)

JOHN C. MONTANO [#166382], 32, of Tustin (Aug. 22, 1999)

LARRY A. MORSE [#80441], 57, of Stanton (Sept. 4, 1999)

JAY S. ROTHMAN [#49739], 57, of Sherman Oaks (Sept. 9, 1999)

JOSEPH AMATO [#38509], 66, of Rancho Mirage (Sept. 24, 1999)

GEORGE D. BERGLUND [#133677], 52, of Half Moon Bay (Oct. 1, 1999)

MICHAEL P. FEDYNYSHYN [#123566], 41, of San Diego (Oct. 2, 1999)

ANN HILL [#76777], 50, of Los Angeles (Oct. 3, 1999)

JAMES J. SULLIVAN [#80724], 57, of Novato (Oct. 8, 1999)

JAMES CAMERON BAGEMAN [#38512], 66, of Portola Valley (Oct. 10, 1999)

HENRY R. ESKINS [#123898], 40, of Surfside (Nov. 11, 1999)

REINSTATEMENT

LAURA BETH SALANT HEISEN [#112412], 44, of Agoura Hills (Aug. 11, 1999)

TERRELL S. ROOT [#77938], 48, of Los Gatos (Sept. 22, 1999)