The Bar News

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars 6, Suspends 14 in Latest Disciplinary Filing

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on Jan. 17, 2020. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

 

  • Bryant Gomez, Bensenville

    Mr. Gomez, who was licensed in 2005, was disbarred for neglecting four legal matters over a two-year period, converting client funds, making misrepresentations to clients about the status of some of the matters, failing to return $4,215 in unearned fees to clients, and failing to cooperate with disciplinary authorities.      
  • Beauregard Maximillion Harvey, Toledo, Ohio

    Mr. Harvey was licensed in Illinois in 2003 and in Ohio in 2005. The Supreme Court of Ohio disbarred him after he neglected three clients’ civil matters, failed to reasonably communicate with clients, did not deposit into a client trust account fees that had been advanced, did not promptly refund over $3,000 in unearned fees, and failed to cooperate in disciplinary investigations. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him in Illinois.

  • Anthony Ray Johnson, Newton, Iowa

    Mr. Johnson was licensed in Illinois in 1992 and in Iowa in 2007. The Supreme Court of Iowa revoked his license for embezzling $26,247.93 from his employer. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

  • Kenneth H. Johnson, Chicago

    Mr. Johnson, who was licensed in 1985, was disbarred. He represented two clients in employment discrimination matters but settled the cases without their knowledge, dishonestly signed his clients’ names to documents, subsequently misrepresented facts to them concerning the timing or amounts of the settlements, and misappropriated over $24,000 in settlement funds.

  • Gray Milburn Magee, Edwardsville 

    Mr. Magee, who was licensed in 2002, was disbarred. He used a client’s credit card to make $1,708.68 in personal purchases without the client’s consent and then made misrepresentations to the client about the card’s use. He also made misrepresentations during the investigation of his conduct.   

  • William Leonard Miller, St. Louis, Missouri

    Mr. Miller was licensed in Missouri in 1992 and in Illinois in 1993. The Supreme Court of Missouri disbarred him following his plea of guilty in federal court to the offense of aiding and abetting another in devising and participating in a scheme to defraud the citizens of St. Louis County, Missouri, of their right to honest services. Mr. Miller used his position as Chief of Staff to the St. Louis County Executive to aid and abet that executive in enriching himself through soliciting and accepting political donations from individuals and companies in exchange for favorable action. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him in Illinois. The County Executive, who was also an attorney in both Illinois and Missouri, was also disbarred in both States.  

SUSPENDED

  • Anthony R. Chi, Downers Grove

    Mr. Chi, who was licensed in 1998, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court. He neglected four clients’ divorce cases, failed to communicate with those clients, and failed to cooperate with the ARDC’s investigation of his conduct.  

  • Rupam Chandra Dave, Mundelein

    Ms. Dave, who was licensed in 1995, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. She was convicted of drunken driving in 2005 and 2016, but did not notify the ARDC of her 2005 conviction, as she was required to do. She subsequently violated the terms upon which professional discipline might be deferred by consuming alcohol and failing to submit to random urine tests.  

  • Walter Ding, Champaign

    Mr. Ding, who was licensed in 1992, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court. He did not file a petition to seal or expunge records on behalf of a client, did not respond to phone calls or an email from his client’s mother requesting updates on the matter, and did not return any portion of $642 in unearned fees or costs. After he was removed from the roll of attorneys in March 2017 and March 2018 due to his failure to register and pay the annual registration fee, he made at least 20 court appearances on behalf of clients in Champaign, Vermilion, and Piatt counties.   ​​​​​​​

  • Vichian R. Ford, Decatur

    Mr. Ford, who was licensed in 2000, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court. He broke windows at three separate businesses and pled guilty to criminal damage to property belonging to one business.  

  • Michael H. Hamilton, Las Vegas, Nevada

    Mr. Hamilton was licensed in Illinois in 1982 and in Nevada in 2001. The Supreme Court of Nevada suspended him for four years, with all but the first six months stayed by a 42-month period of probation subject to conditions, for engaging in various acts of professional misconduct including commingling and failing to safeguard client funds, and dividing fees with non-lawyers. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for four years, with the suspension stayed after six months by a 42-month period of probation subject to the conditions imposed in Nevada and until he successfully completes the terms of his Nevada probation. The suspension is effective on February 7, 2020.   

  • Brian Robert Keeley, Bolingbrook

    Mr. Keeley, who was licensed in 1989, was suspended for eight months and until he successfully completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. He misappropriated $16,899.50 in total from settlement proceeds in two separate cases, and he did not prepare or maintain trust account records as required by the Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15(a). The suspension is effective on February 7, 2020.  

  • Mark Allen Lichtenwalter, Chaska, Minnesota 

    Mr. Lichtenwalter was licensed in Illinois in 2003 and in Minnesota in 2013. The Supreme Court of Minnesota suspended him from the practice of law indefinitely with no right to petition for reinstatement for three years, with reinstatement conditioned upon successful completion of the professional responsibility portion of that State’s bar examination and satisfaction of continuing legal education requirements. He pled guilty to a felony charge of soliciting a child (or someone believed to be a child) through electronic communication and to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for three years and until he is reinstated in Minnesota. The suspension is effective on February 7, 2020.   

  • Durward Jamieson Long, Jr., Moline

    Mr. Long, who was licensed in 1979, was suspended for 60 days and until he makes restitution of $13,500 to a client’s heirs. He agreed to represent five clients in applying for Medicaid benefits and had those clients’ agents sign promissory notes agreeing to pay his fee upon the future sale of his clients’ homes, along with mortgages on the clients’ homes to secure payment of the promissory notes, without advising his clients or their agents of their right to obtain independent legal advice about the transactions. He also represented two clients’ estates in probate proceedings despite holding mortgages on the clients’ homes, and he collected a $15,000 fee from one client who died before he performed any significant legal services for her. The suspension is effective on February 7, 2020.   

  • Guy Norman Maras, Chicago

    Mr. Maras, who was licensed in 1995, was suspended from the practice of law for three years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after six months by a three-year period of probation subject to conditions, arising out of his conviction of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. His criminal conduct involved his consuming alcohol, driving his vehicle at a high rate of speed, and driving off the roadway and hitting a tree stump, causing the ejection and death of his passenger in Michigan.  The suspension is on February 7, 2020.   

  • William Kieran Meehan, University City, Missouri

    Mr. Meehan was licensed in Illinois in 1986 and in Missouri in 1985. He was suspended indefinitely in Missouri, with the suspension stayed in favor of a two-year period of probation, for failing to diligently pursue a client’s personal injury claim and not responding to the client’s repeated requests for information about his claim. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for two years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed in its entirety in favor a of two-year period of probation, nunc pro tunc to December 20, 2017, subject to the conditions imposed in Missouri and until his period of probation in Missouri is successfully completed.   

  • Edmond Elias Salem, Santa Monica, California 

    Mr. Salem was licensed in Illinois in 2000 and in California in 2003. The Supreme Court of California entered an order suspending him for one year, with the suspension stayed by a two-year period of probation, subject to conditions, including that he be suspended for the first 90 days of probation. Mr. Salem settled a claim on behalf of a client against an insurance carrier without disclosing the fact that his client had died, and he signed that client’s name on two claim releases and presented them to the insurance carrier as genuine signatures. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for one year, with the suspension stayed after 90 days by a two-year period of probation, nun pro tunc to June 15, 2019, subject to the conditions imposed by the Supreme Court of California and until the conditions imposed in California are successfully completed.  The suspension is effective on February 7, 2020.

  • Richard Lane Steagall, Peoria

    Mr. Steagall, who was licensed in 1978, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after five months, provided that he pays certain restitution, by a 19-month period of probation with conditions. He failed to diligently represent a client, failed to communicate with two clients, and did not refund an unearned fee to a client. The suspension is on February 7, 2020.   

  • Michael John Toigo, Las Vegas, Nevada

    Mr. Toigo was licensed in Illinois in 1976 and in Nevada in 1977. The Supreme Court of Nevada suspended him for six months and one day for abandoning client files and confidential information in a home from which he had been evicted, and failing to cooperate with an investigation into his conduct. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for six months and until further order of the Court.   

  • John C. Torjesen, Los Angeles, California

    Mr. Torjesen was licensed in Illinois in 1987 and in California in 1989. The Supreme Court of California, in connection with his third disciplinary case there, suspended him for two years, and stayed the suspension in favor of a two-year period of probation, subject to conditions, for holding himself out as entitled to practice law and practicing law in connection with a civil matter when his license to practice law in California had been administratively suspended because he was not in compliance with a child support order. Mr. Torjesen is currently unable to practice law in California based on unsatisfied conditions from his second disciplinary proceeding. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him from the practice of law in Illinois until he is reinstated in California. The suspension is effective on February 7, 2020.    

CENSURED

  • Gary Bruce Friedman, Chicago

    Mr. Friedman, who was licensed in 1973, was censured. After learning of his personal injury client’s death in June 2016, Mr. Friedman negotiated a settlement with the other party’s insurance company without disclosing that his client had died. Respondent then directed the deceased client’s grandson to sign the client’s name to a release and submitted it to the insurance company.

REPRIMANDED

  • Amy Lovell Wilson, Fairfax, Virginia 

    Ms. Wilson was licensed in Illinois in 1999 and in Virginia in 2004. A disciplinary subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar reprimanded her and placed her on probation for two years for neglecting client matters, failing to communicate properly with clients, failing to return unearned fees, mishandling client funds, and failing to maintain proper trust accounting practices. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline, reprimanded her, and placed her on probation for two years, nunc pro tunc to October 30, 2017, subject to the disciplinary conditions imposed in Virginia.   
     

Posted on January 17, 2020 by Rhys Saunders
Filed under: 

Login to post comments