Illinois Supreme Court disbars 6, suspends 14 in latest disciplinary filing
The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, during the January Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.
- Vito Matteo Evola, Rosemont
Mr. Evola, who was licensed in 1979, was disbarred. He misappropriated over $900,000 in client funds in three separate matters. In addition, he made false statements to a client and to the ARDC during the course of the disciplinary investigation.
- Michael Lawrence Flynn, La Grange Park
Mr. Flynn, who was licensed in 1990, was disbarred. He misappropriated over $500,000 that belonged to a client or third parties.
- Dodie Leann Junkert, Clinton
Ms. Junkert, who was licensed in 1998, was disbarred on consent. She pled guilty to the criminal felony offense of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school and was sentenced to four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
- Jordan Lee Margolis, Chicago
Mr. Margolis, who was licensed in 1979, was disbarred and ordered to pay certain restitution. He misappropriated $1,034,850 in settlement funds in ten separate matters. In addition, he forged clients’ names in three matters and made misrepresentations to his clients relating to his receipt and distribution of their settlement funds. He was suspended on an interim basis on November 27, 2013.
- Curt Patrick Rehberg, Crystal Lake
Mr. Rehberg, who was licensed in 1989, was disbarred on consent. He misappropriated approximately $644,000 from two estates. He was suspended on an interim basis on November 27, 2013.
- Robert S. Sanderson, St. Louis, Mo.
Mr. Sanderson is licensed to practice in both Indiana and Missouri, but has never been licensed in Illinois. He was disbarred in Illinois for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. He entered his appearance in more than 3,000 cases in Madison and St. Clair Counties and engaged in dishonest conduct by misleading the Missouri-based firm that employed him into believing that he was licensed to practice in Illinois. Without authorization, he used an Illinois attorney’s registration number on his appearances and pleadings without her knowledge or authority. He also failed to cooperate during the disciplinary proceeding.
- John F. Argoudelis, Plainfield
Mr. Argoudelis, who was licensed in 1989, was suspended for five months. Despite knowing that his client was not, as the client claimed to be, the sole heir of an estate, Mr. Argoudelis repeatedly represented to the probate court that the client was the sole heir. The suspension is effective on February 6, 2015.
- Douglas Roy Cannon, Chicago
Mr. Cannon, who was licensed in 1969, was suspended for two years, with the suspension stayed after one year if certain restitution is made, to be followed by a one-year period of conditional probation. He failed to act with reasonable diligence in handling a client’s breach of contract matter, failed to keep the client informed about the status of the matter including failing to inform his client about the entry of a default judgment, made a misrepresentation to the court about the client’s compliance with a citation to discover assets, devised a scheme to hide the client’s assets from the judgment creditor to circumvent the citation, and took more than $6,000 of the client’s funds without authorization. The suspension is effective on February 6, 2015.
- Jolanda B. Djordjevic, Chicago
Ms. Djordjevic, who was licensed in 2003, was suspended for thirty days and ordered to complete the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. She neglected a client’s personal injury claim and, over the course of several years, was not candid to her client and others about the status of the matter. The suspension is effective on February 6, 2015.
- Michael Jeffrey Greco, Chicago
Mr. Greco, who was licensed in 1989, was suspended for thirty days, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a one-year period of conditional probation. He did not timely file responses to motions for summary judgments in two federal employment cases resulting in dismissal of those cases.
- Nicholas Swigert Lane, Chicago
Mr. Lane, who was licensed in 2008, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after ninety days by a two-year period of conditional probation. He converted $14,210 belonging to an estate and also neglected to appear at multiple court dates relating to that same estate. The suspension is effective on February 6, 2015.
- Joseph Anthony Leonard, Kenosha, Wis.
Mr. Leonardi, who was licensed in 1985, was suspended for ninety days. After representing a client at the closing of a home, Mr. Leonardi took possession of the seller’s proceeds check from the title company, but never deposited or negotiated that check, or a replacement check that later issued to him. The title company has since ceased operations and its parent company has denied the client’s claim for payment of the proceeds. The suspension is effective on February 6, 2015.
- Michael Gerard Mahoney, Glenview
Mr. Mahoney, who was licensed in 1989, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after six months by a two-year period of conditional probation. He neglected fourteen personal injury cases and made misrepresentations about the status of those cases to clients. In addition, he filed three reports in medical malpractice proceedings falsely stating that an expert witness supported his clients’ positions. The misconduct was causally related to certain medical conditions for which he has received appropriate treatment. The suspension is effective on February 6, 2015.
- Johnny McCraw Jr., Chicago
Mr. McCraw, who was licensed in 2004, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a two-year period of conditional probation. After pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance and being sentenced to a two-year period of probation, he violated the terms of his criminal probation by using alcohol and a controlled substance.
- Edwin Reyes, Chicago
Mr. Reyes, who was licensed in 1990, was suspended for thirty days and required to complete the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. His lack of diligence resulted in the dismissal of a client’s workers’ compensation claim and, in an attempt to keep the claim active, he photocopied and whited-out portions of previously-filed pleadings in order to refile the claim without the client’s knowledge. The suspension is effective on February 6, 2015.
- Donald Paul Rosen, Carpentersville
Mr. Rosen, who was licensed in 2003, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. An ARDC hearing panel earlier recommended that he be suspended for three years and until further order of the Court for misappropriating $85,412.78 in escrow funds, making false statements to his clients and a police officer investigating his conduct, presenting fabricated bank records to the ARDC in an attempt to conceal his misconduct, and providing false testimony during the disciplinary investigation. He attempted to blame his conversion of funds and fabrication of bank records on his 82 year-old mother.
- Philip E. Ruben, Bannockburn
Mr. Ruben, who was licensed in 1983, was suspended for six months. After he became aware that attorneys at another law firm were reviewing his representation of a mutual client, he altered a conflicts disclosure document. He also altered two checks that he used to acquire an interest in one of the businesses that was the subject of his representation. The suspension is effective on February 6, 2015.
- R.L. Sotorrio, Chicago
Mr. Sotorrio, who was licensed in 1981, was suspended for one year, with the suspension stayed after sixty days by an 18-month period of conditional probation. He failed to diligently represent three separate clients, respond to their requests for information, or make timely refunds of unearned legal fees in connection with the matters. In addition, he failed to deposit the advance payments of legal fees provided by those clients into a client trust account and he used $4,350 of the money for his own business or personal purposes before he earned it. The suspension is effective on February 6, 2015.
- Gary Eugene Stark, Anna
Mr. Stark, who was licensed in 1994, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. He neglected two client matters, causing the clients’ lawsuits to be dismissed and their matter to become time barred. He also settled one client’s malpractice claims against him, but he has yet to pay the settlement to which they agreed. Finally, he was not candid and truthful in his testimony during the disciplinary proceeding.
- Kelly Patrick Ward, Dixon
Mr. Ward, who was licensed in 1991, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a two-year period of conditional probation. She left the scene of an automobile collision, resulting in a misdemeanor conviction for leaving the scene of a property damage accident. In addition, while appearing in court on behalf of a client, she was physically unsteady, had difficulty formulating appropriate questions for a witness in the proceeding, and smelled of alcohol, resulting in additional court proceedings.
Kenneth Marquis Battle, Chicago
Mr. Battle, who was licensed in 1999, was censured. He did not file a personal injury claim for a client before the expiration of the statute of limitations. When he became aware of his error, he met with the client and provided her with a settlement agreement which would have released him from liability in exchange for his payment of funds to her, without advising her in writing to seek independent counsel.
- Joel Craig Zimmerman, Tinley Park
Mr. Zimmerman, who was licensed in 1982, was censured. He represented a husband in a dissolution of marriage proceeding and received funds on behalf of both the husband and the wife. After a judge determined the parties’ relative entitlement to those funds, Mr. Zimmerman paid the wife, but the payment of the check by the bank resulted in an overdraft in his lawyer trust account, as a direct result of his failure to properly maintain that account.
- Claudette McFarland Winstead II, Washington, D.C.
Ms. Winstead was licensed in Illinois in 1993 and in the District of Columbia in 1995. The Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia reprimanded her for using letterhead stationery, facsimile cover sheets, and e-mail messages reflecting that she was an attorney with an office address in Silver Spring, Maryland, without disclosing that she had never been admitted to practice there. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and reprimanded her.
The Following Lawyer Was Transferred to Disability Inactive Status:
Constantine N. Dranias, Chicago
The Following Lawyer Was Transferred to Permanent Retirement Status:
Michael D. Downing, Glenview