Illinois Supreme Court disbars 1, suspends 10 in latest disciplinary filing
The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on March 14, 2014, during the March Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.
- Jason Scott Landgraf, Chicago
Mr. Landgraf, who was licensed in 1994, was disbarred on consent following his guilty plea in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on charges of bank fraud.
- Reema Nicki Bajaj, South Elgin
Ms. Bajaj, who was licensed in 2010, was suspended for three years and until further order of the Court. She was convicted of a class A misdemeanor charge of prostitution. In addition, she made material misrepresentations to the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar in her bar application and later failed to be candid to the ARDC during the course of the disciplinary investigation.
- Peter Lawrence Currie, Geneva
Mr. Currie, who was licensed in 2004, was suspended for 60 days and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a two-year period of conditional probation. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of cannabis paraphernalia, and battery.
- Kenneth Karl Ditkowsky, Niles
Mr. Ditkowsky, who was licensed in 1961, was suspended for four years and until further order of the Court. He made false or reckless statements about the qualifications and integrity of judges presiding over a guardianship matter. In addition, he sent a letter falsely stating that he represented the ward in that proceeding.
- Michael Joseph Finn, Oak Forest
Mr. Finn, who was licensed in 2004, was suspended for 60 days and until he makes certain restitution. He neglected a client’s criminal appeal by failing to attend oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. In addition, he was not candid to his client, the court, and the ARDC regarding his reasons for missing that oral argument. The suspension is effective on April 4, 2014.
- Richard J. Frost, Oak Lawn
Mr. Forst, who was licensed in 1983, was suspended for four months. He neglected four different client matters, made misrepresentations regarding the status and progress of their cases, and failed to communicate with each of the clients. The suspension is effective on April 4, 2014.
- Jesse Raymond Gilsdorf, Mt. Sterling
Mr. Gilsdorf, who was licensed in 1994, was suspended for five months. While representing a client on drug charges, he revealed information relating to the representation without the client’s informed consent by posting on a popular internet site a video of a controlled buy under the title, “Cops and Task Force Planting Drugs.” He also was found to have made an extrajudicial statement that he reasonably knew would be disseminated by means of public communication and would pose a serious and imminent threat to the fairness of an adjudicative proceeding. The suspension is effective on April 4, 2014.
- Ross Lee Haith II, Westchester
Mr. Haith, who was licensed in 1999, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court. While representing a party in a dissolution of marriage case, he filed frivolous pleadings in an effort to delay the matter, made false statements in pleadings, and made false statements regarding the integrity of several judges. He failed to appear for his disciplinary hearing.
- John Frank Harris, Chicago
Mr. Harris, who was licensed in 1987, was suspended for three years retroactive to the date of his interim suspension, March 28, 2012. He pled guilty to conspiracy to commit solicitation and was sentenced to 10 days in prison and two years of supervised release. He conspired with former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to solicit and demand something of personal value for Governor Blagojevich in exchange for the Governor exercising his statutory duty to appoint a United States Senator.
- Phillip McKinney Pippenger, Evanston
Mr. Pippenger, who was licensed in 1998, was suspended for 60 days and must successfully complete the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. Beginning in 2010, he agreed to file a patent application and a complaint relating to a contractual dispute on behalf of a client. He delayed filing the patent application and never filed the contractual dispute complaint, but misrepresented the status of both matters to his client. He also failed to be candid with the ARDC during the course of the disciplinary investigation. The suspension is effective on April 4, 2014.
- Steven G. Schochetman, Chicago
Mr. Schochetman, who was licensed in 2010, was suspended for 90 days. In relation to an ARDC investigation of his representation of a client in a dissolution of marriage matter, Mr. Schochetman produced documents that falsely stated the hourly rate that he had agreed to charge the client. He also created an entry on the Florida Bar website that falsely stated that he was admitted to practice in many federal courts when, in fact, he was not. The suspension is effective on April 4, 2014.