Illinois Supreme Court Disbars 7, Suspends 23 in Latest Disciplinary Filing
The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on Sept. 16, 2019. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.
- Steven J. Bahrmasel, Glencoe
Mr. Bahrmasel, who was licensed in 1971, was disbarred on consent for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in at least ten client matters after the effective date of a two-year suspension for neglect and the mishandling of client funds. During his suspension, Mr. Bahrmasel negotiated settlements with opposing counsel, filed orders utilizing other attorneys’ names and attorney numbers, accepted legal fees, and made disbursements from a purported client funds account.
- Gregory Eugene Barrett, Rockford
Mr. Barrett, who was licensed in 1975, was disbarred on consent. He misappropriated over $200,000 in funds belonging to clients or third parties, and he signed and notarized three separate clients’ purported signatures on litigation funding applications without those clients’ knowledge or consent.
- Alan Wayne Cohen, Clayton, Missouri
Mr. Cohen was licensed in Illinois in 1988 and in Missouri in 1987. He was disbarred in Missouri by default after being charged with taking cash withdrawals from his trust account, failing to maintain records of trust account disbursements, failing to securely store client files following termination of representation, and failing to respond to lawful demands for information from the Missouri disciplinary authority. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.
- David S. Purcell, St. Louis, Missouri
Mr. Purcell was licensed in Missouri in 1973 and in Illinois in 2004. The Supreme Court of Missouri disbarred him for engaging in misconduct in connection with three separate trust and estate matters, including failing to provide diligent and competent representation, failing to turn over records upon termination, and engaging in conflicts of interest and dishonesty. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.
- Daniel Peter Soso, Chicago
Mr. Soso, who was licensed in 1979, was disbarred on consent. He was convicted of willfully attempting to evade and defeat the payment of income taxes due and owing to the United States on income received over two decades, including income received in connection with the State of Illinois’ lawsuit against various tobacco companies.
- Steven V. Stenger, St. Louis, Missouri
Mr. Stenger, who was licensed in Illinois in 2003, was disbarred on consent. In his role as St. Louis County Executive, he accepted campaign contributions in exchange for the award of governmental contracts. This conduct resulted in his conviction for wire fraud in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
- Henry Joseph Vogelman, Troy, Missouri
Mr. Vogelman was licensed to practice in Illinois in 2008 and in Missouri in 2007. He was disbarred in Missouri by default after being charged with failing to act with reasonable diligence in four domestic relations matters and a small collections matter, failing to keep clients reasonably informed about the status of those matters, refusing to respond to lawful demands for information from the Missouri disciplinary authority, and conduct involving dishonesty in five client matters. In four of those matters, Mr. Vogelman was also charged with collecting fees totaling $4,000 for services that he did not perform. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.
- Joel Alan Brodsky*, Chicago
Mr. Brodsky, who was licensed in 1982, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. Mr. Brodsky is the subject of a three-count disciplinary complaint based, in part, on Mr. Brodsky’s allegedly disruptive behavior in a federal lawsuit, for which he was sanctioned in the amount of $50,000 and subsequently placed on a suspension by the Executive Committee for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The ARDC disciplinary complaint also alleges that Mr. Brodsky revealed information relating to the representation of clients on two occasions.
- Raymund Jared Capelovitch, Clayton, Missouri
Mr. Capelovitch was licensed in Illinois in 1990 and in Missouri in 1991. The Supreme Court of Missouri suspended him indefinitely, but stayed the suspension in favor of a one-year period of conditional probation. Mr. Capelovitch misrepresented to a client the length of time it would take to settle two workers’ compensation claims, failed to deliver $5,665.24 in settlement funds to the client, and failed to respond to requests for information from the Missouri disciplinary authorities. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline by suspending Mr. Capelovitch for one year and until further order of the Court, but staying the suspension in favor of a one-year period of conditional probation, nunc pro tunc, to November 18, 2018.
- Michael Anthony Capuzzi, Pompano Beach, Florida
Mr. Capuzzi was licensed in Michigan in 1994 and in Illinois in 1999. He was suspended for ninety days by the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board after convictions for misdemeanor simple assault and malicious use of service by a telecommunications service provider. His victim was his prior girlfriend. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for 90 days, nunc pro tunc, to April 2, 2018.
- James E. Coston, Chicago
Mr. Coston, who was licensed in 1980, was suspended for one year. In the course of representing a client in a debt collection matter, Mr. Coston collected $20,933 on the client’s behalf but did not pay over those funds to the client. After the client terminated the representation, Mr. Coston continued to collect funds on the client’s behalf but not remit them. The suspension is effective on October 7, 2019.
- Robert Ronald Czarnik, Itasca
Mr. Czarnik, who was licensed in 2012, was suspended for four months. He fabricated two real estate documents and sent them to a client in an effort to have the client believe that he had performed certain work when, in fact, he had not. The suspension is effective on October 7, 2019.
- William August Fleckles, Lombard
Mr. Fleckles, who was licensed in 1980, was suspended for sixty days. He prepared a will for one client and, within days thereafter, prepared a codicil to a will for the father of that client. Both father and son died within days of signing the respective documents, which were not properly witnessed. Mr. Fleckles had his son (also an attorney) sign the two documents as an attesting witness, although he had not seen either of the documents being signed. Mr. Fleckles gave both documents to the executor of the estates, knowing that the executor would open probate matters for each. The suspension is effective on October 7, 2019.
- Andrew Thomas Freund*, Riverside
Mr. Freund, who was licensed in 1984, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. He has been criminally charged in McHenry County in the death, and the concealment of the death, of his five-year-old son, A.J. Freund.
- Daniel G. Galivan, River Grove
Mr. Galivan, who was licensed in 1989, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court. He neglected two clients’ criminal cases by missing several court dates. In one of those cases, he was served with a body attachment and was taken into custody by the Illinois Department of Corrections. Mr. Galivan also did not communicate with his clients, nor did he participate in the disciplinary proceedings against him.
- Rene Hernandez, Rockford
Mr. Hernandez, who was licensed in 1994, was suspended for sixty days. He falsely stated a client’s age in a motion he filed seeking to vacate that client’s criminal conviction. He also made false statements about his client’s age to an Assistant State’s Attorney and the judge presiding over the matter. The suspension is effective on October 7, 2019.
- Richard Stanley Kolodziej, Chicago
Mr. Kolodziej, who was licensed in 1996, was suspended for five months. While representing the defendant in a wrongful death claim, he made false statements to his supervising attorney and to a representative of the client’s insurance company about the status of the case, and he later altered two e-mail messages to falsely show that he had asked for, and received, additional time to respond to the plaintiff’s settlement demand. He also sent an e-mail message to opposing counsel that revealed information about Mr. Kolodziej’s firm’s contacts with its client. The suspension is effective on October 7, 2019.
- Igor Krivoshekov, London, England
Mr. Krivoshekov, who was licensed in 1997, was suspended for one year. Over the course of 18 months, while working for an international law firm in London, he was reimbursed $31,046 for what he falsely claimed were firm business development and marketing expenses but which were, in fact, his own personal expenses. The suspension is effective on October 7, 2019.
- Kevin Lee Linder, Springfield
Mr. Linder, who was licensed in 1994, was suspended for sixty days. Mr. Linder represented clients in two bankruptcy cases and did not keep those clients informed as to the status of their matters. In one of those matters, he misrepresented to the court that the clients had signed their bankruptcy petition. In the second matter, he misrepresented to his clients the terms of the bankruptcy trustee’s plan for disposition of some out-of-state real property. The suspension is effective on October 7, 2019.
- Margaret Ann Lundahl, Chicago
Ms. Lundahl, who was licensed in 1980, was suspended for thirty days and until she pays certain restitution. She is also required to successfully complete the ARDC Professionalism Seminar within one year of the order of discipline. She mishandled a portion of an expert witness fee refund check that belonged to her client. She also advanced $1,200 to another client for living expenses at the time when she was representing that client on numerous matters, including efforts to resolve liens and expenses related to one of those matters. The suspension is effective on October 7, 2019.
- Thomas Gordon Maag, Wood River
Mr. Maag, who was licensed in 2000, was suspended for sixty days. He took title to a client’s house as payment for legal fees without advising the client that the transaction posed a conflict of interest. He then engaged in a further conflict of interest by attempting to evict that client while simultaneously representing her in other legal matters. The suspension is effective on October 7, 2019.
- Jeremiah Patrick Murray, Oak Lawn
Mr. Murray, who was licensed in 1997, was suspended for eighteen months, and until he makes certain restitution to his former client and completes an ARDC professionalism seminar. In July 2014, he agreed to hold settlement funds for a client. Mr. Murray then deposited those funds into his business checking account and used $47,487.32 of that client’s money for his own purposes without the client’s authority. The suspension is effective on October 7, 2019.
- David Alan Novoselsky*, Waukegan
Mr. Novoselsky, who was licensed in 1973, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. An ARDC hearing panel recently recommended that he be disbarred for engaging in multiple acts of dishonesty and filing frivolous and harassing pleadings in connection with a wrongful death lawsuit and filing frivolous pleadings in a guardianship action.
- Katherine Renea Nussbaum, Orland Park
Ms. Nussbaum, who was licensed in 2004, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. She neglected two client matters, did not refund unearned fees or return a client’s file, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law while removed from the roll of attorneys, and failed to cooperate in disciplinary investigations.
- Chinyere Alex Ogoke, Chicago
Mr. Ogoke, who was licensed in 2005, was suspended for twenty-one months, with the suspension stayed after nine months by a twelve-month period of probation subject to conditions. He misappropriated $1,000 in settlement funds in one matter. Also, he received over $400,000 to hold in escrow in connection with four real estate matters in which the buyers were from the United Kingdom and then misappropriated nearly all of those funds. The suspension is effective on October 7, 2019.
- Patricia E. Rademacher, Chicago
Ms. Rademacher, who was licensed in 1991, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court, with all but the first sixty days of the suspension stayed by two years of conditional probation. In the course of representing a client in a debt collection matter, Ms. Rademacher collected $20,933 on the client’s behalf and converted the portion of funds that should have been remitted to the client. In addition, she continued to collect, but not remit, funds after the termination of the representation. The suspension is effective on October 7, 2019.
- James Arthur Regas*, Chicago
Mr. Regas, who was licensed in 1953, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. He is the subject of a one-count disciplinary complaint based on his conviction for concealing material facts and making materially false statements or representations with respect to matters within the jurisdiction of a branch of the federal government. The ARDC disciplinary complaint charges that Mr. Regas failed to disclose insider transactions and delinquent loan status, and that he submitted false conflict of interest statements to a bank of which he was an officer. The ARDC disciplinary complaint further alleges that Mr. Regas’ omissions and false statements allowed him to induce the bank into making loans to his business associates from which he benefited.
- Michael Joseph Shifrin, Northbrook
Mr. Shifrin, who was licensed in 2005, was suspended for one year. He knowingly made over 200 unauthorized alterations in his former firm’s computer software during a four-year span. Those changes resulted in an increase of over $30,000 in Mr. Shifrin’s compensation and over $200,000 in his book of business, while working a detriment to his co-workers. The suspension is effective on October 7, 2019.
- Linda Lee Spak, Chicago
Ms. Spak, who was licensed in 1982, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. She misappropriated at least $301.15 in client funds and then, in an effort to cover-up her misconduct, made false statements to her bank manager and the ARDC regarding notifications she had received from the bank that there were insufficient funds in her client trust account.
- Robert C. Thomas*, Woodridge
Mr. Thomas, who was licensed in 1969, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. An ARDC review panel recently recommended that he be suspended for two years and until further order of the Court. He had been convicted of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and had been held in direct criminal contempt of court for appearing in court intoxicated.
- James S. Fleckles, Lombard
Mr. Fleckles, who was licensed in 2013, was censured. He signed a will and a codicil to a will as an attesting witness, despite the fact that he had not seen either document being signed. Both documents were prepared by his father, also an attorney.
- Randall H. Miller, Denver, Colorado
Mr. Miller was licensed to practice law in Illinois in 1997 and in Colorado in 2002. In 2017, the Supreme Court of Colorado publicly censured him for failing to take remedial measures after learning that a client had submitted false evidence to the court relating to spoliation of documents in the course of litigation against the client’s former employer. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and censured him.
- Jonathan Coldren Davis, Chicago
Mr. Davis was licensed in Illinois in 2008 and in Michigan in 2013. The Michigan Attorney Disciplinary Board reprimanded him following a conviction for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and reprimanded him.
*The order was entered by the court before the September 2019 term, but not included in any prior release.