Oakland attorney and former city council member LEO
BAZILE [#75441], 58, resigned his State Bar membership Aug. 21,
2001, amid charges he spent $100,000 of his son's money after
winning it in a wrongful death settlement. Bazile, who served on the
Oakland City Council from 1983 to 1992 and had no record of discipline
since joining the bar in 1977, agreed to resign after he was charged
with misconduct including incompetence, misappropriation, disobeying a
court order and three counts of moral turpitude. He also was charged
with failing to maintain funds in a client trust account, using client
funds for personal purposes and failing to pay funds entitled to a
In March 1994, Bazile - who was listed as both
his son's guardian and his attorney - settled an Alameda County
wrongful death suit filed against the Sashinger Family Home on behalf
of Jabari Bazile, whose mother died in a fire there. Marie Griffin was
one of two residents killed at the Oakland residential care facility
for the mentally ill. Leo Bazile received settlement funds totaling
In anticipation of attending college, Jabari
Bazile, now 25, asked for payment in January 1997, but his father
failed to turn over the settlement funds. Jabari Bazile then com-plained
to the bar and filed a civil suit.
When the settlement was reached, Leo Bazile was
to place the award in a blocked account. He was to be the account's
trustee, but was not to withdraw money unless it was court-ordered.
Jabari Bazile was to receive the funds when he turned 18 on July 13,
But a lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior
Court alleged Bazile's firm extracted attorneys' fees of $43,750,
then spent the remaining $100,000 on personal and business expenses.
By August 1996, the money was gone.
Bazile has made sporadic payments to reimburse
his son, who hired another attorney to recoup the settlement.
After bar investigators sent notice to Bazile
that he had come under investigation, Bazile wrote a response in which
he claimed Jabari Bazile consented to several of the withdrawals.
"With my son's permission, I borrowed money
from the trust fund to pay household expenses, personal obligations,
purchase a Jeep for his stepmother and occasionally payroll expenses
at the law firm," Bazile wrote.
Even after Jabari Bazile's 18th birthday in
1994, Bazile falsely told his son he could not have the money until he
was "a man."
Bazile was placed on inactive status in April
after violating an agreement with bar prosecutors. He had signed an
agreement saying he would resign after he finished defending two
But he then represented a partner's client and
lied about expediting the second murder case, which had not yet gone
to trial. He told prosecutors he had waived time to quicken its pace
through adjudication, but it was later learned he filed no such
With Bazile's resignation, charges against him
have been dismissed without prejudice, which would allow him to seek
In addition to serving on the city council,
Bazile twice ran for Oakland mayor but lost both bids. In 1995, he and
two aides were fined $36,000 by the Fair Political Practices
Commission for failing to properly report campaign contributions.